Like many other types of cancer, leukemia can make it much more difficult to work and engage in the everyday activities you used to take for granted. If you have been diagnosed with this condition and are unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Below, Sigman Janssen’s Oshkosh Social Security Disability lawyers discuss eligibility for SSD benefits for those who have been diagnosed with leukemia. Our firm has helped many people with disabilities obtain federal disability benefits, and there are no upfront costs with our services.
If you are preparing to apply for benefits or your application has already been denied, we may be able to assist you.
Give us a call today to learn more about our legal services: (877) 888-5201.
What Is Leukemia?
Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects the bone marrow, causing abnormal cell growth. Eventually, the abnormal cells replace blood platelets, red blood cells, white blood cells and bone marrow cells. Unlike other forms of cancer, leukemia does not produce any tumors.
What Are the Types of Leukemia?
The Social Security Administration classifies leukemia as either acute or chronic. Acute leukemia has a rapid onset. Chronic leukemia has a slow onset. Victims with this type of leukemia may not experience significant symptoms until the disease has advanced to its later stages.
There are two types of acute leukemia and two types of chronic leukemia:
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia – This form of leukemia starts in the white blood cells in bone marrow. It may spread to the lymph nodes, which can transport the cancer to the liver, spleen or other internal organs. This cancer is rare for adults, but it is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in children.
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia – This cancer usually starts in the cells that eventually become white blood cells. However, it may also form in cells that turn into other types of blood cells.
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - This is the most common type of leukemia that affects adults. This condition takes a long time to cause symptoms, sometimes years.
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia – This form of leukemia is most common in people who are over the age of 65. Fortunately, the prognosis for this type of cancer is often good, as advanced treatments often cause the cancer to go into remission.
Leukemia symptoms vary, based on the type of leukemia you are suffering from. Some of the common symptoms of the disease may include:
- Joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Feeling short of breath
- Red spots on the skin
- Recurring nosebleeds
- Continuing to get severe infections
What Are the Eligibility Criteria For Social Security Disability for Leukemia?
Leukemia is listed in the SSA Blue Book. You may qualify under 13.06 A. for acute leukemia or section B. for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
People who have been diagnosed with acute leukemia are automatically eligible for benefits. The SSA will need to reevaluate eligibility two years from the date of the diagnosis or 12 months from when the patient receives a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, whichever date comes later.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
There are two types of chronic myelogenous leukemia that may qualify for benefits:
- Accelerated/Blast Phase – People who have been diagnosed with this disease are automatically eligible just like those with acute leukemia.
- Chronic Phase – Chronic phase patients are considered disabled until at least one year from the date of a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. If the cancer progresses after initial anticancer therapy, you may also be eligible for disability benefits.
Medical Eligibility Criteria
Despite the fact leukemia automatically qualifies for benefits, you still need strong evidence to prove you qualify. The SSA is going to need records from your oncologist, including blood test results, bone marrow biopsies and pathology reports that detail your diagnosis. Doctors may conduct a spinal tap to determine if the cancer has spread, along with other imaging tests (MRIs, CT scans and PET scans). The SSA needs to know the grade, stage and type of leukemia you are suffering from.
Applicants should tell their doctors they are applying for benefits. When your doctors quickly respond to SSA requests, it may help increase your odds of being approved for benefits.
Sigman Janssen’s experienced lawyers can help you gather the evidence you will need, including documentation of the treatment you have received.
Does Leukemia Qualify Under a Compassionate Allowance?
The SSA has a compassionate allowances list of conditions that qualify for an expedited approval process. Applicants suffering from one of these conditions can get benefits much faster than they otherwise would.
The following forms of leukemia are on the list:
- Acute Leukemia
- CML (Blast Phase)
- Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Child Lymphoblastic Lymphoma
- Child Lymphoma
- Lymphoma Granulomatosis – Grade III
- Mantle Cell Lymphoma
- Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
- Primary Effusion Lymphoma
What if Your Illness Does Not Fit the Criteria in the Blue Book?
If your cancer does not fit the criteria in the Blue Book, you might qualify under a medical vocational allowance. You will need to show you are unable to work at your current job for at least one year and that your skills will not transfer to another job. Your doctor will need to complete a Residual Functional Capacity form that explains your work abilities, such as:
- How much you can lift
- How long you can sit
- How long you can stand
- How far you can walk
- Whether extreme temperatures will impair your ability to do work
Call Sigman Janssen for Assistance With Your Application
For decades, Sigman Janssen has been helping people with disabilities secure the federal disability benefits they needed. We manage each step of the process, including appeals if an application is denied.
There are no upfront costs with our services. The initial legal consultation is also free. Give us a call to learn more about the benefits of hiring an attorney to manage this process on your behalf.
Contact Sigman Janssen today to schedule a free consultation: (877) 888-5201.