Jonathan H. Poznansky, Attorney at Law

Qualify for SSD benefits when suffering from lymphoma

Cancer is something that we all hate to think about. Yet, at one point or another, it will touch most of us in a very personal way. For those of us who are unlucky enough to contract the disease, our lives can be turned upside-down. Not only can it affect our health, but it also can affect our daily activities, including going to work. Those who find themselves so sick that they are unable to work likely face another challenge: paying their bills. With unexpected medical expenses and lost wages, cancer sufferers may find themselves overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn for help. Fortunately, relief may be found through Social Security disability if an individual meets the Social Security Administration's definition of "disabled" for his or her condition.

As an example, let us look at lymphoma. In order to be deemed disabled by this condition, the SSA must see one of four things. First, an individual can qualify if he or she has non-Hodgkin lymphoma evidenced by an aggressive cancer that continues even after treatment, or an indolent lymphoma that has received one form of treatment that has failed within its first 12 months. Second, an individual may be deemed disabled if a Hodgkin lymphoma fails to reach clinical remission within a year of treatment.

Third, an individual may qualify for SSD benefits if he or she had to receive either a stem cell or bone marrow transplant as a result of the lymphoma, but this condition will be reevaluated one year after the transplant. Lastly, the SSA will consider an individual disabled if he or she has mantle cell lymphoma.

To meet one of these definitions of disability, an individual will need to put forth strong medical evidence as well as documentation of his or her employment. Of course, many initial SSD claims are denied, but that should not deter an individual from pursuing the matter further. In fact, obtaining the assistance of a qualified legal professional may allow an individual to better show that he or she is justified in seeking Social Security Disability benefits for illness, thereby recovering the compensation he or she needs to get by while focusing on his or her health. This benefit is often necessary for those living with a serious illness, thus it is important to understand the application and appeals process.

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