Spinal Nerve Root Cancer and Social Security Disability

The average time that it takes to process an initial application for Social Security Disability benefits is approximately three to four months, and the Social Security Administration (SSA) will quickly provide this information to an applicant who is going through the application process. What they don’t tell you is that nearly 70 percent of initial applications are denied, landing the applicant in the land of appeals. It can take a disability applicant two years or even longer to navigate out of the world of disability appeals and win the benefits they rightfully deserve. The question is what happens when a condition is so severe that an applicant cannot wait months, let alone years, for benefits to begin? What if an applicant can’t possibly endure the standard claim and appeal process? That is where the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program comes into play. Under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines certain applicants who are faced with covered conditions can qualify for benefits in a matter of weeks. Spinal nerve root cancer that is recurrent or metastatic is now one of the conditions that are included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings. If you have been diagnosed with recurrent or metastatic spinal nerve root cancer the following information will help you understand how you can ensure quick and hassle-free approval of your disability claim.

Spinal Nerve Root Cancer - Condition and Symptoms

Spinal nerve root cancer involves a malignant tumor that begins in the nerve root of the body’s spinal cord. When this cancer spreads to other areas of the body and becomes metastatic or when the condition goes into remission and then reoccurs, it is referred to as metastatic or recurrent spinal nerve root cancer. It is these two forms of spinal nerve root cancer that are covered under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

While symptoms of spinal nerve root cancer can vary from case to case, common symptoms include back pain (usually in the lower or middle back) that worsens over time, pain in the arms and legs, pain in the hips, pain in the feet, muscle weakness, motor impairment, loss of control of bowel movements and bladder and, in severe cases, paralysis.

When this form of cancer recurs or metastasizes, the condition does not usually respond to treatment. As a result, treatment efforts are usually focused on making the individual as comfortable as possible and preventing the symptoms from becoming worse.
The causes of spinal nerve root cancer can vary and have not yet been pinpointed. Some experts believe that genetics play a role. When the cancer has been treated and reoccurs, this leads to a diagnosis of recurrent spinal nerve root cancer. When the condition metastasizes to other parts of the body, a diagnosis of metastatic spinal nerve root cancer is given. Both of these forms of the cancer qualify a disability applicant for processing under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Spinal Nerve Root Cancer

Most disability applicants must endure a disability application and two stages of disability appeal including a request for reconsideration and a hearing before an administrative law judge. Because there is such a large backlog of appeals in the Social Security system, it can take two years or more for a disability applicant to obtain a disability hearing. However, for disability applicants who have a condition that is covered under the Compassionate Allowances program this wait time is much shorter and Compassionate Allowances appeals are given priority over standard disability appeals.

Under the Compassionate Allowances program, an applicant may be approved for disability benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or even years for benefits to be approved. Those who have been diagnosed with metastatic or recurrent spinal nerve root cancer are among the applicants who may qualify for claim processing under these expedited guidelines.

It is important to note that even though recurrent or metastatic spinal nerve root cancer has been included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings, diagnosis of the condition does not mean you will receive an automatic approval of your disability benefits. In order to qualify for disability benefits you will need to make sure you properly fill out your application paperwork and must provide the SSA with sufficient objective medical evidence to support your claim. This evidence can include your medical history, lab reports, treatment history and written statements from your treating physicians.

Spinal Nerve Root Cancer and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of metastatic or recurrent spinal nerve root cancer, you may want to consider retaining the services of a disability attorney prior to filing your Social Security Disability application. Applying for disability benefits can be an overwhelming process and the paperwork involved can be very confusing to many applicants. You must fill this paperwork out properly in order for your claim to be approved. By working with an attorney, you can ensure that your disability claim forms are properly filled out and submitted in such a way that the SSA understands the nature of the claim and how it qualifies for Compassionate Allowances processing.

Additional Resources