Leukemia is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow that can have a debilitating effect on a person's ability to maintain steady employment. If you have been diagnosed with this condition and it is preventing you from working, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
The Phoenix disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC have decades of experience in pursuing disability benefits for our clients. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our skilled disability attorneys.
Meeting the Blue Book Listing
To qualify for disability benefits, your condition must meet the requirements outlined in the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Blue Book of impairment listings. There are currently two types of leukemia listed in the Blue Book under listing 13.06: acute leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
To determine if you meet a listing, the SSA will evaluate:
- The origin of the cancer
- The extent of the cancer throughout the body
- How often and how long you received treatment
- Whether the treatments have been successful
- If you have experienced side effects from the treatment
You will need to submit medical evidence of your diagnosis; the extent of the cancer throughout your body; and the site of the primary recurrent or metastatic lesion. If you use biopsies or other operational methods as evidence of your leukemia, you must include operative notes and pathology reports. If you do not have these, the SSA will accept medical reports of these findings.
In some situations, the SSA may also require evidence about recurrence, persistence or progression of the cancer and how it has responded to therapy.
The SSA will also require medical documentation that is specific to each type of cancer:
To qualify for disability for acute leukemia, the disease must be diagnosed through a definitive bone marrow exam or other accepted medical procedures, such as chromosomal analysis, cytochemical and surface marker studies on the abnormal cells, or other methods.
Recurrent leukemia will require initial and follow-up pathology reports of peripheral blood, bone marrow or cerebrospinal fluid examination, or by testicular biopsy.
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
Qualifying for disability for chronic myelogenous leukemia requires a documented granulocytosis and chromosomal analysis that shows that the Philadelphia chromosome is present. If it is not present, the SSA will accept a diagnosis through other approved medical methods.
If you meet one of these listing requirements, you will automatically be approved for disability benefits based on the medical requirements. Furthermore, because leukemia is listed on the SSA's Compassionate Allowances list, your claim will be handled much faster than traditional claims.
The Compassionate Allowances list allows the SSA to quickly identify diseases that meet its medical requirements so it can expedite the process for applicants with these conditions. This helps reduce waiting times for those with the most serious disabilities.
Acute leukemia and chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are included in this group because of the diseases' rapid progression through the body.
To be approved for the Compassionate Allowance program, you should include as much medical documentation with your initial application as possible. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help gather the necessary medical evidence to include with your claim.
If You Do Not Meet the Listing Requirements
If your condition does not meet or equal the leukemia listing, you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits if you can show that you are not able to work because your condition is expected to last at least one year and prevents you from being able to work.
This process involves using a residual functional capacity assessment to determine your limitations based on the symptoms, treatment response and side effects related to your condition.
Contact an Experienced Disability Lawyer
If you are applying for disability benefits for leukemia, consider contacting an experienced disability lawyer. Our attorneys can help gather medical evidence to support your claim and explain what options may be available to you. The Social Security Disability benefits lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC work on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorneys' fees if your claim is approved.
Call 1-800-503-2000 to schedule a free consultation.