Navigating social security disability benefits for mesothelioma patients
Navigating Social Security Disability Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is a rare and deadly cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, and heart. It is caused by exposure to asbestos, which was regularly used in construction, manufacturing, and other industries until the 1970s. Unfortunately, mesothelioma often goes undiagnosed until it is in the late stages, making it difficult for patients to work and support themselves or their families. For many mesothelioma patients, Social Security Disability benefits can provide crucial financial support during this difficult time.
The Basics of Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability benefits are a form of insurance provided by the federal government to those who are unable to work due to a severe medical condition. To be eligible for benefits, an individual must have worked long enough and recently enough to earn sufficient work credits. In addition, the medical condition must be expected to last at least one year or to result in death.
There are two types of Social Security Disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is typically available to those who have worked and earned enough work credits, while SSI is a needs-based program for those who do not have enough work credits.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a lengthy and complicated process. The first step is to gather all relevant medical records and documentation to support the claim. This may include medical reports, test results, and statements from doctors and other medical professionals.
Once all necessary documentation is gathered, a claim can be submitted online, over the phone, or in person at a local Social Security office. The claim will then be reviewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), which may request additional information or schedule a medical examination.
It is important to note that the majority of initial claims are denied by the SSA. If this happens, the applicant can request a reconsideration or file an appeal. It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney at this point, as the appeals process can be even more complicated than the initial application.
Qualifying with Mesothelioma
To qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with mesothelioma, an applicant must be able to show that their condition meets the criteria stated in the SSA's Blue Book. The Blue Book is a guide that lists all medical conditions that qualify for disability benefits, along with the criteria that must be met.
Mesothelioma is specifically listed in the Blue Book, under section 13.15. To qualify, an applicant must demonstrate that they have either epithelioid, sarcomatoid, or biphasic mesothelioma that is recurrent or persistent despite treatment. They must also provide documentation to show that their cancer has either spread to nearby organs or is inoperable and has confined them to a bed or chair.
Getting Approved for Benefits
Even if an applicant meets the Blue Book criteria for mesothelioma, they may still be denied benefits during the initial application. This is why it is crucial to provide as much detailed and documented medical evidence as possible, as well as to work with a Social Security Disability attorney who can help present the case in the strongest possible light.
In addition to meeting the Blue Book criteria, an applicant may also qualify for benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. This means that while their condition may not meet the exact Blue Book criteria, they are still unable to work due to the severity of their mesothelioma.
The Importance of Social Security Disability Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma is a devastating disease that not only takes a toll on the body, but also on the finances of those affected. Social Security Disability benefits can provide much-needed financial support to help cover medical expenses, pay for daily living expenses, and provide a sense of security during a difficult time.
In addition to Social Security Disability benefits, mesothelioma patients may also be able to seek compensation through legal action against the companies responsible for their exposure to asbestos. This can provide additional financial support and may help hold accountable those who negligently exposed workers to this deadly substance.
Navigating the world of Social Security Disability benefits can be difficult, especially for those coping with a serious illness like mesothelioma. However, with the right knowledge and resources, it is possible to secure the financial support needed to focus on healing and fighting the disease.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is important to consult with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney to understand your options for benefits and legal recourse. With the right support, you can focus on your health and well-being without worrying about financial strain.