When an individual receives a diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia, also known as CML, it can be an overwhelming and devastating experience. The condition itself presents symptoms that can cause an inability to work. When you add the side effects of the treatments normally used to fight the disease, the ability to work becomes completely impossible. With a lack of income and mounting disability-related medical bills, the outlook can be bleak, to say the least. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia and you are wondering how this medical condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how the Social Security Administration reviews claims based on this particular diagnosis.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) Condition and Symptoms
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a rare type of cancer that affects the blood cells of the body. Unlike acute forms of leukemia, this type of cancer tends to progress more slowly and only affects the body's myeloid cells.
The myeloid cells are located in the bone marrow of the body. When an individual develops chronic myelogenous leukemia, the condition causes a rapid growth of the immature blood-forming cells located in the body's blood, bone marrow and body tissue. The disease is grouped into three different stages, including: the chronic stage, the accelerated stage and the blast crisis stage.
Because the condition progresses slowly, the “chronic” phase of the disease can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. During this stage of the disease, a patient will usually experience very few symptoms, if any at all. Once the disease progresses from the chronic phase to the accelerated phase, symptoms become more apparent. The individual may experience fevers, a swollen spleen and pain in the bones.
If chronic myelogenous leukemia is not treated during the accelerated phase, it will continue on to the blast crisis phase. During this phase a patient is prone to bleeding and infection due to a failure of the marrow in the bones. Night sweats, chronic fatigue, fevers, swollen spleen and general weakness are all symptoms of this phase of the disease.
Treatments for chronic myelogenous leukemia have come a long way. Most patients are given a pill that is taken by mouth if the condition is caught early enough. This pill has been proven to be very successful at creating higher remission and survival rates. In some cases, chemotherapy may also be used to reduce the number of white blood cells in the body.
Unfortunately, in the blast crisis phase, chronic myelogenous leukemia is very hard to treat. In these cases, bone marrow transplants or stem cell transplants will be needed.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Chronic myelogenous leukemia is listed as a disabling condition in the Social Security Administration's Blue Book of Medical Listings under Section 13.06B. According to this listing, a patient will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if he or she has a case of chronic myelogenous leukemia that is in the accelerated or blast phase. In this instance, the patient will automatically be considered to be disabled for a period of 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant (whichever is later). A chronic myelogenous leukemia patient may also be considered to be disabled under these guidelines in the chronic phase if the disease is progressing following initial antineoplastic therapy.
Because chronic myelogenous leukemia automatically qualifies an individual for Social Security Disability benefits, it is likely that you will be approved during the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process. You will, however, have to provide the Social Security Administration with enough medical evidence to prove that you meet the established guidelines in the SSA's Medical Listings. Copies of your medical records, treatment histories and lab results will need to be submitted along with your claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
When filing your initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits, you may also want to consider having a disability attorney or advocate review your disability application before it is submitted. This will help to ensure that your claim has been properly filled out so that there will be no question regarding your eligibility for the Social Security Disability benefits you need.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia and Your Social Security Disability Case
Because chronic myelogenous leukemia automatically qualifies an individual for Social Security Disability benefits in the accelerated and blast crisis phases and sometimes in the chronic phase, your chances of your application being approved during the initial stage of the application process are very good. However, if your claim happens to be denied, you will need to consult with a disability attorney or advocate as soon as possible.
A disability lawyer can help you understand why your initial claim for benefits was denied by the Social Security Administration. They will also ensure that your disability appeal is successful and that the SSA understands why you qualify for benefits under the published Medical Listings.
To learn more about filing for Social Security Disability benefits with chronic myelogenous leukemia or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, simply fill out the form for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.