Mesothelioma and Social Security Disability
While Mesothelioma is considered to be a rare form of cancer, there are more than 2,500 new cases diagnosed each year. A Mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating and the symptoms can have a severe impact on one's ability to perform normal day-to-day work activities. Needless to say, holding down a full-time job is nearly impossible for many Mesothelioma patients. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma, Social Security Disability benefits may be able to offset some of the financial burden that has been caused by the condition. The following information can help you through the Social Security Disability application process and can shed some light on how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims based on a Mesothelioma diagnosis.
Mesothelioma - Condition and Symptoms
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that causes tumors to develop on the sac that lines the internal body cavities. This lining is referred to as the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is commonly referred to as asbestos lung cancer, leading many people to believe that the cancer develops within the lungs. This is not the case. Lung cancer develops in the lungs, whereas Mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and not the actual lung itself. In fact, some cases of Mesothelioma do not affect the area of the lungs at all.
There are two types of Mesothelioma that a person may suffer from. Pleural Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium of the lungs and peritoneal Mesothelioma develops in the lining of the abdominal cavity. Pleural Mesothelioma accounts for approximately 70 percent of all Mesothelioma diagnoses.
When Mesothelioma develops, cancer cells begin to clump together in the mesothelium, forming malignant tumors. As the tumor grows it pushes against other tissues of the body and the body's internal organs. This is normally what causes the symptoms of Mesothelioma to develop. As it advances, the cancer will metastasize through the lymph nodes and will spread to other parts of the body. Even though, at this point, the cancer is no longer contained within the mesothelium, it is still referred to as Mesothelioma because that is where the cancer originated.
The symptoms of Mesothelioma will vary from individual to individual, depending on the severity of the condition and other factors. Common symptoms of pleural Mesothelioma include shortness of breath, chest pain and a persistent dry cough. Common symptoms of peritoneal Mesothelioma include swelling of the abdomen, abdominal pain and fluid in the abdomen.
The causes of Mesothelioma also very, but pleural Mesothelioma is commonly attributed to prolonged asbestos exposure. Individuals who suffer from the condition have often worked in professions where repeated asbestos exposure caused them to breathe in asbestos fibers and dust. The fibers then lodge in the mesothelium and, eventually, Mesothelioma develops.
Diagnosis of Mesothelioma can be difficult and it is often necessary to perform a biopsy for an accurate diagnosis. Some of the other tests a doctor may conduct include X-rays, CT scans and MRIs as well as lung function tests and other examinations.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Mesothelioma
Patients who are diagnosed with Mesothelioma may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they meet the published impairment guidelines of the SSA. If you have medical documentation proving that you are suffering from a metastatic case of malignant Mesothelioma or evidence showing that your malignant tumors are not responding to prescribed therapy, you may be able to qualify for disability benefits at the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process.
In order to qualify for disability benefits, you should submit as much medical evidence as possible with your initial disability claim. Only thirty percent of applications are approved at the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must endure the lengthy disability appeal process if they hope to receive disability benefits from the SSA in the future. By providing sufficient medical documentation proving that your case meets the guidelines that have been published by the SSA, you will increase your chances of falling within the 30 percent of Social Security Disability applicants who receive an approval without the need for an appeal.
Mesothelioma and Your Social Security Disability Case
If, for some reason, your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied at the initial application stage, do not give up hope. Approximately 70 percent of applicants must file an appeal in order to receive Social Security Disability payments. Fortunately, about two-thirds of the applicants who file Social Security Disability appeals will be awarded disability benefits at your disability hearing.
If the SSA has denied your disability application or if you are looking to file an initial application, contact a Social Security attorney as soon as possible. Working with a qualified disability attorney can significantly increase your chances of being awarded benefits. Your attorney will help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your disability case and will file the paperwork required to appeal the denial of your benefits.
- Do You Qualify?
- Application Process
- Medical Conditions
- Disability Resources