In 2011 the Social Security Administration is expected to receive more than three million applications for Social Security Disability benefits. If history is any indication of future approval rates, fewer than 30 percent of these claims will be approved during the initial stage of the disability application process. The remaining 70 percent of Social Security Disability applicants will have to undergo an extensive and exhausting disability appeal process in order to obtain the benefits they may be entitled to.
The problem with the Social Security system is that an initial disability claim takes three to four months to process. When a claim is denied, it then takes an applicant another three to four months to complete the initial stage of the appeal process. Unfortunately, fewer than 20 percent of these appeals are granted by the Social Security Administration, which means that the majority of applicants must pursue the second stage of the disability appeal process, which is a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. It takes most applicants at least another year before this hearing is scheduled.
What happens when a disabling illness or condition is so severe that a Social Security Disability applicant cannot possibly wait two years or more for disability benefits to begin? If their condition falls under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, the wait times are much shorter.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with a condition contained in the SSA's listing of Compassionate Allowances conditions may qualify for disability benefits in a matter of weeks instead of waiting months or years for Social Security Disability benefits to begin. Cases of primary central nervous system lymphoma are among those that qualify a claim for processing under these guidelines.
If you have been diagnosed with this condition, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how you can increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Primary Central Nervous System Condition and Symptoms
Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma is a form of cancer that attacks the central nervous system. The central nervous system includes the brain, optic nerves, eyes and spinal cord. Lymphoma as a name comes from the cancerous cells themselves; they are called lymphocytes which are a type of white blood cell. Primary CNS lymphoma can affect all age groups of people, it is most commonly found in individuals that are over the age of 50 though. People, who have poor immune systems, are HIV positive or have AIDS, or people who take prescription drugs after receiving a transplant seem to be at the highest risk for this rare cancer.
Primary CNS lymphoma was first recognized as early as 1920. Another name that is goes by is reticulum cell sarcoma, perithelial sarcoma, and microglioma. Since the 1970s though, this cancer has been known as a form and variation of lymphoma.
Conditions and symptoms may widely vary from patient to patient. Most forms of cancer do not follow any particular order and vary from person to person. There are many symptoms when it comes to Primary CNS lymphoma. If the cancer is attacking the brain for example, one may experience difficulty walking, weakness in their limbs, drowsiness, headaches, memory problems and personality changes. If the cancer is in one’s eyes they may experience a loss of visions or see spots. With any of these symptoms though, progressively they will get worse, especially without proper treatment.
Primary CNS lymphoma is not like other lymphomas that attack and enlarge lymph nodes throughout the body, it just stays in the central nervous system.
This particular form of cancer is very rare and often diagnosis is delayed because of this fact. Another factor is that it normally does not appear in people who are younger therefore symptoms such as memory loss of inflammation within the eyes seem as though they are just age related. One may have to see a specialist to make the final diagnosis, but this is always accompanied by an MRI and blood work.
Causes of Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
Scientists have not been able to pinpoint the direct cause for this form of lymphoma. It is actually puzzling to them why this form of cancer would attack the central nervous system anyway because under normal circumstances, the central nervous system does not have any lymphocytes. There are a couple theories as to how these cancerous white blood cells get into the central nervous system, but they are theories still and have not been proven to be one hundred percent correct. AIDS patients that are infected with the Epstein-Barr virus may also trigger primary CNS lymphoma. Having a weakened immune system leaves any person wide open and at risk for many infectious diseases and even cancer.
Chance of recovery depends greatly on a few factors which include: age, health, tumor location and whether or not the patient has AIDS. There are various forms of treatment which also depend on what stage the cancer is in, where the tumor is located within the CNS, a patient’s health and age and whether or not the cancer is reoccurring.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
Receiving a diagnosis of primary central nervous system lymphoma can be an emotionally traumatic experience. The condition and necessary treatments will make it impossible for an individual to work. Because of this, you should file for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible once you have been diagnosed with the condition.
Even though this condition qualifies your Social Security Disability claim for processing under the Compassionate Allowances listings, you will still need to properly fill out the claim forms that are required by the Social Security Administration and you should provide as much medical evidence as possible to support your disability claim.
When filing for disability, be detailed in the answers you provide to the application questions and clearly explain how your condition places limitations on your day-to-day living activities. Also include a complete copy of your medical records including lab results and written statements from your treating physicians. This supporting evidence will be needed to ensure a quick approval of your disability benefits.
Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma and Your Social Security Disability Case
You may assume that your application for Social Security Disability benefits will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration due to the nature of your condition and the fact that it falls under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.
If you want to increase your chances of obtaining a quick and hassle-free approval of your disability claim you should consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can ensure that your claim is prepared and presented properly to the Social Security Administration and that it is processed according to the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of primary central nervous system lymphoma, click here for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.