When a physical or mental impairment leaves you unable to work enough to support yourself and your loved ones, your next step should be applying for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two programs that make monthly cash payments available to those with a disability that is expected to last at least a year or end in death.
If you have been diagnosed with thymoma, you may have a valid claim for this type of financial support.
A thymoma is a benign or malignant tumor that forms in the epithelial cells of the thymus that may be benign or malignant. It is found in approximately 20% of patients diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disorder, and is often present in other autoimmune diseases.
Although thymomas rarely spread outside the thymus, some strains extend to the lining of the lungs and nearby organs in the chest. Symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Coughing up bloody sputum
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Loss of appetite.
Type C thymoma, more commonly known as thymic carcinoma, is especially aggressive. The resulting treatment, which can include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, can be so hard on the system that general weakness and debilitation are increased.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits
When you apply for one of its disability benefits programs, the SSA will verify that your condition meets a listing in the Blue Book, which is its catalog of acknowledged disabilities. Thymomas and thymic cancer are included in Section 13.14- Cancer - Adult- Lungs if small-cell (oat cell) carcinomas are present.
Should this apply to your condition, the SSA will automatically consider you disabled and you will also qualify for a Compassionate Allowance (CA), which the SSA reserves for particularly serious disabilities. With CA conditions, your application will be reviewed more quickly and, if it is approved, you will receive your benefits much faster.
The Application Process
To apply for disability benefits, you are required to complete an application form and submit it to the SSA, along with medical records that give a complete and accurate picture of the impact that thymoma has had on your ability to function.
Examples of such documentation include:
- Results of physical examinations
- Image scans such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs
- Blood tests
- Needle biopsy or surgical biopsy reports
The Social Security Disability application process can be confusing, given the nature and scope of the documentation required, and unfortunately, the majority of applications are rejected the first time around.
Engaging the services and support of a Social Security attorney or advocate is one way to better navigate these difficulties and increase your chances of a successful claim by helping you support your case.
An attorney or advocate can:
- Help you complete the application and collect all required documentation
- Represent you at an appeal if you happen to be denied the first time around
The sooner your benefits start arriving, the sooner you can focus on overcoming cancer. With experienced professional help in your corner, it’s an outcome that is much more likely to become reality.