Shortness of breath, coughing, and pain may have been the first signs that something was wrong. What you had hoped could be treated by rest or antibiotics turned out to be much more severe than a virus or an infection.
It turned out to be cancer.
More specifically, it turned to be mesothelioma and it was likely caused by your exposure to asbestos many years before you became symptomatic.
What a Mesothelioma Diagnosis Means
Mesothelioma is a cancer that develops in the membranes around internal organs. The most common form of the cancer is found in the membranes around the lungs. It is an aggressive disease that is often not diagnosed until it is already at a late stage. The average life expectancy of someone diagnosed with mesothelioma is under two years and only nine percent of people diagnosed with mesothelioma live more than five years from the time of diagnosis.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability
Often people with a mesothelioma diagnosis will qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You may qualify if you meet the requirements of Section 13.15 in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments or if you are unable to work. More specifically, you may qualify if you are diagnosed with one of the following:
- Malignant mesothelioma of pleura (Listing of Impairment Section 13.15A)
- Tumors of the mediastinum with metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes (Listing of Impairments Section 13.15B(1))
- Tumors of the mediastinum that are persistent or recurring following initial anticancer therapy (Listing of Impairments Section 13.15B(2))
- Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma. (Listing of Impairments Section 13.15C)
Alternatively, you may qualify if the symptoms of your condition make you unable to work enough to engage in substantial gainful activity.
Your Claim May be Expedited
Some forms of mesothelioma are included in the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program. This means that if you have the right documentation, your application for Social Security disability benefits will be decided more quickly than it otherwise would be decided.
However, you still need to submit a full and convincing application for benefits and a board-certified lawyer can help you do that. For more information about filing your application and getting the benefits you deserve, please contact our experienced Social Security disability lawyers today for an initial consultation.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.