Compassionate Allowance - Primary Effusion Lymphoma

Of the millions of disability applications received each year by the Social Security Administration, as few as 30 percent are actually approved during the initial stage of the disability application process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants who are denied Social Security Disability benefits must undergo the complex and exhaustive disability appeal process in order to obtain the disability benefits they need. Unfortunately, it can take a Social Security Disability applicant more than two years to complete the disability appeal process and to receive their first disability payment from the Social Security Administration.

Some Social Security Disability applicants are unable to wait such lengthy periods of time for disability benefits to begin. Individuals who are facing severe and life-threatening disabilities feel that they should not have to undergo the standard disability claim process in order to obtain the benefits they need. In 2008 the Social Security Administration took measures to address this fact and implemented the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, some Social Security Disability applicants can receive expedited claim processing and may be awarded disability benefits in just a few weeks instead of waiting months or years before benefits can begin. Primary effusion lymphoma has recently been added to the list of conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances processing. If you have been diagnosed with primary effusion lymphoma and are wondering how the diagnosis will affect your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will shed light on the disability claim process and how you can increase your chances of being approved for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Primary Effusion Lymphoma Condition and Symptoms

Primary Effusion lymphoma (PEL), also called body cavity lymphoma, is extremely rare and represents a mere two percent of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHLs). NHLs are a group of cancer that develops within someone’s lymph nodes which are located throughout the human body. It has been found that there are twenty five different types of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas all of which are fairly uncommon. The two most common occurrences though diffuse large B-cells and follicular lymphomas. People who have AIDS are somewhat predisposed to this form of lymphoma. Although this type of cancer is very rare, most cases are found within people who have compromised immune systems.

Primary effusion lymphoma is not like other lymphomas in that it actually does not possess any lymphatic masses that are identifiable and it primarily manifests itself in the peritoneal, pericardial, and pleural cavities of the body. The peritoneal cavity contains all of the organs that are within the lower abdomen, the pericardial cavity is the space in between the lining of the heart and the heart itself. Pleural cavities are located in between the lungs and their protective lining. These so called “cavities” are the protective coat that surrounds important organs.

When someone is suffering from Primary Effusion Lymphoma it means there is an abundance of fluid in these cavities. The abundance of fluid is created by the lymphoma cells. This abnormal amount of fluid in these cavities leads to organ dysfunction, therefore creating serious health issues. Patients that have this excess in fluid may also experience abdominal distension, chest pains, and a shortness of breath. It is not typical for lymph nodes to be swollen in this type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Causes of Primary Effusion Lymphoma

There are many different Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas where the cause is not known however, this is not the case for Primary Effusion Lymphoma. Primary Effusion Lymphoma is caused by Kaposi’s sarcoma which is associated with the herpes virus 8. This form of lymphoma was not actually recognized as an NHL until the herpes virus 8 was found in the year 1994. In many cases, the cancerous cells are also infected with the infectious virus called Epstein-Barr. It has been states that about 90% of these cells are infected with Epstein-Barr. These two factors and Primary Effusion Lymphoma are often found in patients who are HIV positive or have AIDS. It is extremely rare for the particular form of lymphoma to be present without HIV and the human herpes virus, but it can happen.

Unfortunately, there is no known proper treatment right now for PEL because of the fact that it is so uncommon. Any case that has come about, the patient has been treated as though they have large B-cell lymphoma, which is known as the most aggressive type of NHL. It is suggested that people who are HIV positive or who have AIDS should continue their normal therapy to help improve their immune systems before trying to be treated for Primary Effusion Lymphoma. Some cases have stated that with AIDS therapy alone, there has been a positive response to treatment in those who also have Primary Effusion Lymphoma.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Primary Effusion Lymphoma

A diagnosis of primary effusion lymphoma can be an emotionally overwhelming experience. The effects of the cancer and the necessary treatments can make it impossible for a person to maintain employment. Because of this, the Social Security Administration has included this diagnosis as one of the few conditions that qualify a disability claim for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

When submitting your Social Security Disability application, you will need to include as much medical evidence as possible with your disability claim. Try to obtain a complete copy of your medical records including treatment histories and lab results. Written statements from treating physicians can also help support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.

Primary Effusion Lymphoma and Your Social Security Disability Case

Many of the individuals who file Social Security Disability claims based on a diagnosis of primary effusion lymphoma assume that their claims will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While individuals who file Compassionate Allowances claims are more likely to be awarded benefits during the initial stage of the application process, there is a chance that your claim will be denied if you do not prepare your application properly or do not provide sufficient medical evidence.

If you want to increase your chances of receiving disability benefits in a matter of weeks under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you in the preparation of your disability claim and can ensure that your claim is submitted in such a way that it will be processed under the SSA 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 effusion lymphoma, click here to receive a free evaluation of your disability case by a Social Security attorney who serves your area.