Social Security Disability Benefits
Please read the following article by Molly Clarke detailing the process of acquiring Social Security Disability benefits for those with Ewing sarcoma:
Ewing Sarcoma and Disability
Ewing sarcoma is a rare form of bone and tissue cancer that most often occurs in children, teenagers, and young adults. Like most serious health conditions, Ewing sarcoma can impact a person physically, mentally, and financially.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, disability benefits may be available to help offset some of the expenses associated with this condition.
The following article will outline the benefits available to you and will provide you with the information needed to begin the Social Security Disability application process.
Definitions of Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a set definition of disability for both children and adults.
The definition of childhood disability is based on a child’s ability to function at a level similar to his or her peers. This definition applies to children under the age of 18 and is comprised of the following criteria:
- The child must not have a job that the SSA considers to be substantial work;
- The child must suffer marked and severe functional limitations as a result of a diagnosed health condition; and
- The child’s health condition must last, or be expected to last, at least one year or result in death.
The SSA’s definition of adult disability is slightly different in that it is based on a person’s ability to maintain employment. This definition applies to adults over the age of 18 and is comprised of the following criteria:
- An adult is disabled if he or she has a physical or mental health condition that prevents them from doing any type of work; and
- The adult’s health condition must last, or be expected to last, at least one year or result in death.
Ewing’s in the Blue Book?
Typically, to evaluate the severity of an applicant’s condition, the SSA will consult an official guidebook of disabling conditions. This guidebook is referred to as the SSA’s blue book and contains specific information and medical criteria for all potentially disabling conditions. Because Ewing sarcoma is a severely debilitating condition, it is not listed in the SSA’s blue book and is evaluated in a slightly different manner.
The SSA recognizes that individuals with seriously debilitating conditions cannot be expected to wait the standard processing times for Social Security Disability benefits. For this reason, the SSA began the Compassionate Allowance initiative. Under this initiative, individuals with serious illnesses and injuries are able to receive Social Security Disability benefits in as little as ten days. Fortunately, Ewing sarcoma is included among the Compassionate Allowance conditions.
To view the Compassionate Allowance listing for Ewing sarcoma, click here. (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0423022715)
It is important to note that even if you have a Compassionate Allowance condition, you will still need to provide the SSA with extensive medical evidence to support your claim. This evidence may include your clinical history, physical exams, imaging tests, biopsies, surgical and pathology reports, progress notes, and other treatment records.
The SSA runs two separate disability benefit programs. The first, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), provides benefits to working adults who become disabled. The second, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), provides benefits to disabled children and adults who earn very little income.
To qualify for SSDI, an applicant must have sufficient employment history and must have paid a certain amount of Social Security taxes. Because children, teens, and young adults don’t typically meet these requirements, SSDI may not be an option for many applicants with Ewing sarcoma. To read more about SSDI technical eligibility, click here. (http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssdi/qualify-for-ssdi)
Fortunately, eligibility for SSI is based solely on an applicant’s income and financial resources. To qualify for SSI, applicants cannot exceed the strict financial limits put in place by the SSA. SSI is often the best option for children, teens, and young adults who have limited work history. To read more about SSI technical eligibility requirements, click here. (http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/ssi/qualify-for-ssi)
Application Process and Receiving a Decision
If the applicant is 18 or older, they will likely apply as an adult. If this is the case, you can begin the Social Security online or in person at your local Social Security field office. You will be asked to complete a number of different forms. It is important that you complete this paperwork with thorough detail. Any incomplete information or mistakes can result in the denial of your disability claim.
If the applicant is younger than 18, they will likely apply as a child. The childhood application consists of two forms and a mandatory interview. Although a portion of the childhood application can be completed online, many parents prefer to submit all paperwork during the scheduled interview. If the child is unable to attend the interview, the SSA can also conduct an interview over the phone.
If you are applying for SSI or are the parent of a child applying for SSI, you should have certain non-medical documents available to submit at the time of the application. This may include pay stubs, income receipts, and tax returns to serve as proof of income. You will also need bank account statements, bonds, stocks, vehicle registration, and insurance papers to serve as proof of your financial assets. Lastly, you will need official documentation proving living arrangements. This may include rent receipts, property tax bills, and other home-related records.
After submitting your application for disability benefits, you should receive a decision relatively quickly. In the case of a Compassionate Allowance condition like Ewing sarcoma, you will only be denied if you have inadequate supporting medical evidence or if you do not meet SSI financial requirements.
If you are, in fact, denied, this is not the end of the road. You will have 60 days in which to appeal the decision. Once you are awarded disability benefits you will be able to focus on your health or the health of your child rather than on your financial distress.
For more information about Social Security Disability benefits and Ewing sarcoma visit Social Security Disability Help (http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/blog) or contact Molly Clarke at firstname.lastname@example.org.