Richter Syndrome, also sometimes called Richter Transformation, is a rare form of leukemia that affects about 2% of people who have been diagnosed with leukemia. People who have Richter Syndrome can qualify for Social Security disability benefits automatically under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance program. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Richter Syndrome you should apply for disability benefits immediately.
What is Richter Syndrome?
Richter Syndrome usually occurs in people who are between 60-70 and have been diagnosed with leukemia, or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This rare disorder is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Richter Syndrome develops when chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) turns into a fast growing aggressive type of lymphoma. The most commonly type of this lymphoma is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Some of the symptoms of Richter Syndrome include:
- Increased size of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy);
- Painless swelling in the neck, axilla, abdomen, spleen (splenomegaly) or groin; and
- Unexplained weight loss, fevers and night sweats (commonly referred to as B-symptoms
- Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Increased fatigue
- Shortness of breath;
- Low Platelets with characteristic bruising or bleeding;
- Increase in serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH); and
- Elevated serum calcium (hypercalcemia).
Richter Syndrome is on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance list.
What Is A Compassionate Allowance?
The Social Security Administration recognizes that some conditions are so serious that people who have them need assistance right away. The conditions that are on the Compassionate Allowance list automatically are approved for disability benefits with just a letter of diagnosis.
Someone who has a condition that is on the Compassionate Allowance list just needs to submit their application and a letter of diagnosis. The SSA’s computer system automatically finds and processes applications for conditions on the list.
People who have a condition that is on the list can start receiving their benefits in as little as a couple of weeks. Some of the conditions that are on the list include ALS, many types of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, and more.
Richter Syndrome can qualify as a Compassionate Allowance with a completed application, a letter of diagnosis, and medical records that support the diagnosis. Someone with Richter Syndrome may also qualify for disability benefits under the listing for leukemia in the Blue Book which says that in order to be approved for benefits someone must meet at least once of these conditions:
- Have acute leukemia (lymphocytic or myeloid)
- Have chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) that is in an accelerated or blast phase, meaning that there is or will be an increase in myeloblasts or the leukemia is acting like acute leukemia
- Have acute leukemia that is progressing after the initial treatment(s), meaning that it is getting worse even after treatments have occurred.
Get Help With Your Richter Syndrome Claim
If you have been diagnosed with Richter Syndrome you should get your claim for disability benefits submitted quickly so that you can start receiving benefits. It’s a smart idea to talk with a disability attorney that can guide you through the application process.
With the support of an attorney, your SSD claim may have the evidence of disability you need to submit along with the letter of diagnosis so that you will be approved for benefits and start receiving them quickly.
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