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Myeloma- SS Disability Benefits!

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“If you have a progressive cancer that keeps you from working, you may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

Image result for image of person with disability

I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in early 1994. I was 34,  single and was busy building a career with the company that my father founded several decades earlier.

I applied for and received Social Security Disability Insurance in 1998. As a part of SSDI I also applied for and received Medicare coverage in 2010 at the age of 50. Both forms of income are invaluable to me and my family.

Let me be clear. Disability payments will not put you on easy street. My wife and I had to dramatically lower our standard of living. But I was able to focus on managing my multiple myeloma- diet, lifestyle, research, everything.

The decision to give up your career or not is difficult. Frankly, I decided to sell the company and “retire” because my oncologist told me that I had only a few years to live.

To learn more about my SS Disability benefits experiences, scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.

thank you,

David Emerson

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

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The article below was written and submitted by Molly Clarke, a writer for the Social Security Disability Help blog-

“If you have a progressive cancer that keeps you from working, you may be eligible for financial assistance in the form of Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. These long-term benefits—administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA)–can help pay for day-to-day expenses or offset the cost of treatments and medical visits.

The application process requires a high level of organization and persistence on your part, but will provide you with the relief you need to focus on your health.

Definition of Disability

The SSA adheres to a strict definition of disability that all applicants must meet in order to qualify. This definition is as follows:

The SSA will consider you to be disabled if you meet these three criteria:

  • You cannot do work that you did before becoming disabled; and
  • The SSA decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of a physical or mental condition; and
  • Your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Benefit Options

The two major disability benefit programs in the United States are:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you are under 65 and have been working consistently until your diagnosis, SSDI is likely to be the best fit for your needs. SSDI is funded by through the Social Security taxes paid by workers throughout the country and is only offered to disabled workers and their eligible family members. To qualify, applicants must have adequate work history and past tax contributions. Learn more about SSDI eligibility, here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi.

SSI on the other hand, provides benefits to disabled individuals who earn very little income. SSI—which is not funded through Social Security taxes—is based on financial need rather than past employment.   To qualify, applicants must fall within very specific financial limits. Young adults who have been disabled from birth or who become disabled and have not held substantial employment may be a good fit for SSI benefits. Children with disabilities may also qualify for SSI benefits. However, individuals under the age of 18 will be evaluated based on a portion of their parents’ income.  Learn more about SSI here: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm.

The Blue Book and Compassionate Allowances

The SSA maintains a technical guidebook of disabilities referred to as the Blue Book. The Blue Book contains the Social Security Disability medical criteria for most potentially disabling conditions.

Most cancers are evaluated under Section 13.00 of the SSA’s Blue Book. This section covers the following conditions-

·       Tumors of the Head and Neck

·       Skin Cancer

·       Soft Tissue Sarcoma

·       Lymphoma

·       Leukemia

·       Multiple Myeloma

·       Salivary Gland Cancer

·       Thyroid Gland Cancer

·       Breast Cancer

·       Bone Cancer

·       Cancer of the Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa

·       Brain, Nerve, or Spinal Cancer

·       Lung Cancer

·       Cancer of the Pleural Cavity

·       Esophagus and Stomach Cancer

·       Intestinal Cancer

·       Kidney and Adrenal Gland Cancer

·       Bladder Cancer

·       Cancers of the Female Genital Tract

·       Prostate Cancer

·       Cancer of the Testicles

·       Cancer of the Penis

Each of these conditions has its own specific requirements that can be found, here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/13.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Adult.htm.

In general however, individuals with most types of cancer are required to provide a combination of the following:

·       Medical evidence specifying the type, extent, and site of the
primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion.

·       For operative procedures, include a biopsy or a needle aspiration as well as a copy of both the operative note and pathology report.

·       A record of hospitalizations or other medical appointments.

·       In some situations you may also need to provide evidence regarding the recurrence, persistence, or progression of the malignancy, the response to therapy, and any significant residuals.

Some types of cancer will qualify for Compassionate Allowance processing. The Compassionate Allowance initiative is intended to help those with inherently disabling conditions receive disability benefits in as little as ten days. To see if your condition is included on the list of Compassionate Allowances, visit the following page: http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm.

Medical Vocational Allowance

If your cancer does not meet a Blue Book listing, you may still be able to receive benefits under a medical vocational allowance. To do so, the SSA will assess your physical capabilities, your mental capabilities, your job training, and your age to determine whether or not you are capable of working.  If the SSA determines that you cannot do any type of work, you may receive benefits under a medical vocational allowance.

This decision is reached based on the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. The RFC evaluates your medical records and past employment in order to determine how much functional ability you have. You will be given a functional rating—sedentary, light, medium, heavy, or no work.  This rating, combined with your age and transferable skills, will be compared against the medical vocation guidelines—called ‘the grid’—to determine if you are eligible for a medical vocational allowance.

The Application Process

You can apply for disability benefits by completing the necessary forms online (adults only) or by scheduling an interview with a representative at your local Social Security office. Prepare for the application process by gathering copies of medical records and lab results. You will also need work and financial records depending on which benefit program you apply for. Gather as much information as you can; the better you explain how your cancer impairs your day-to-day functions, the more likely you will be to receive disability benefits.

The application process—including submission and review—can take several months, so you should begin as soon as you can. If your claim is denied, you can appeal the decision within 60 days. If you do not file your claim in time, it is likely that you will have to start the process again. Although facing the appeals process can be overwhelming, it is often a necessary step toward receiving financial assistance. In fact, many more applicants are approved during the appeals process than during the initial application.

It is easy to become discouraged by the application process. You can make the process easier on yourself by staying organized and remaining persistent.  Learn more about Cancer and Social Security Disability, here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/cancer-and-social-security-disability”

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Radical Multiple Myeloma Remission - PeopleBeatingCancer says 5 years ago

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