Esophageal cancer is an especially malignant form of cancer that starts in your esophagus and can rapidly spread to other parts of the body. There are two common forms:
- Squamous cell carcinoma: appears in the cells lining the esophagus
- Esophageal adenocarcinoma: starts in the mucus-producing cells of the throat
Esophageal cancer typically has no observable symptoms during the early stages, which is why so many people aren’t diagnosed until it has progressed. When they do become noticeable, symptoms include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Pain or pressure in the chest area
- Heartburn or indigestion that gets progressively worse
- Weight loss
While some cases of esophageal cancer can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy, these treatments can do little if your cancer has extensively metastasized.
Because the prognosis can be so poor, having esophageal cancer, no matter what stage it is at, can automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.
Qualifying for a Compassionate Allowance with Esophageal Cancer
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes certain illnesses as so disabling that they automatically qualify for disability benefits through the Compassionate Allowance system.
With esophageal cancer, you may no longer be able to maintain the types of employment that you are qualified or trained to do, so your claim receives expedited consideration and you could receive the benefits you need much more quickly.
Your application for benefits should be accompanied by a clinical history completed by your treating physician and results from the following types of diagnostic tests:
- Esophagoscopy that visualizes the cancer
- Pathology report from the esophagoscopy
- Esophagram (barium swallow test)
- CT scan of your chest, abdomen, and pelvis
- PET scan
- Bone scan
When the SSA receives your application, it will be flagged as a compassionate allowance condition. While traditional SSD benefit applications can take up to a year to approve and resolve, those that qualify for a Compassionate Allowance can be approved in as little as three weeks.
Both types of esophageal cancer qualify your application for expedited consideration through this program.
Have Your Case Reviewed by a Disability Lawyer
Although living with esophageal cancer automatically qualifies you for disability benefits through the compassionate allowance system, the application process is still challenging.
The application form requires precise information and if anything is left out, you may have to locate the missing details and resubmit the form. These situations can delay approval of your application and receipt of the benefits you need.
When you work with a Social Security Disability attorney, you get the guidance and advice you need to fully benefit from the compassionate allowance system.
They will help you complete all necessary forms and assemble the documentation needed to confirm your diagnosis for the SSA. If your application is denied for any reason, your lawyer will represent you during an appeal and increase your chances of a successful application.
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