Regular readers will know that this blog is really a diary to help share what it’s like contending with this disease, and that’s the way that I’m most comfortable helping. I don’t really do public service announcements.
However, I was recently contacted by Ram Meyyappan from an organization called Social Security Disability Help. He asked if I would post an article about how to apply for disability with our condition. Since I thought this information might be of benefit to some of my readership, I agreed to post it — I hope it can be helpful.
Thanks to Ram for contacting me and putting this information together.
Applying for Disability with Multiple Myeloma
If you suffer from Multiple Myeloma, then you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits under one, or both, of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability programs. The severity of your disease as well as the treatments required for addressing your condition, both affect whether or not you can be found medically eligible for SSD benefits. However, there are additionally technical requirements for eligibility under both programs that must also be satisfied.
The SSA’s Disability ProgramsFor either SSD program, you must meet the basic eligibility requirements before the SSA will proceed in reviewing your medical condition in more thorough detail. Basic, or technical, eligibility under each program differs.
- For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you must meet the work credit requirements and limitations on earned income.
- For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you must have very limited income and other financial resources at your disposal.
Once the SSA has determined you meet the technical criteria to receive benefits through either, or both, of these programs, then your application and your medical records will be reviewed to determine if you meet the medical requirements for eligibility.
For more information on SSDI and SSI, please visit: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/
Medical Eligibility BasicsTo be considered disabled by the SSA, you must have a medical condition that (1) prevents you from maintaining gainful employment AND (2) is expected to last, or has lasted a year, or which is terminal.
Specific Medical Evidence for SSD with Multiple MyelomaThe SSA maintains a manual known as the Blue Book, which contains the medical evidence requirements for supporting a disability claim for many different potentially disabling conditions. The listing for Multiple Myeloma appears in Section 13.07 of the Blue Book and requires your condition was diagnosed by the following tests:
- Urine protein electrophoresis
- Serum blood protein electrophoresis
- Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy
Additionally, in order to qualify for SSD benefits under this listing, your Multiple Myeloma must also:
- Be progressive, even after receiving anti-cancer therapies
- Fail to respond to the available anti-cancer treatments
If you have received a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to treat your Multiple Myeloma, you are automatically eligible to receive disability benefits under SSDI and/or SSI, provided you meet the technical eligibility criteria for either, or both, programs.
Transplant patients are medically eligible for benefits for 12 months following their transplant surgery, regardless of their medical condition otherwise during that timeframe. After the expiration of the automatic eligibility period, their condition is evaluated by the SSA to determine if they are still disabled and therefore eligible for the continuation of SSDI and/or SSI benefits.
Submitting your Disability Application
There are several ways in which to submit an application for disability benefits:
- In person, at your local SSA office
- Online, with the SSA’s website (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/disability.htm)
- Under some circumstances, via phone, with an SSA representative
You can contact the SSA’s main help line at 1-800-772-1213,if you need to inquire about scheduling a phone interview to complete your application, or contact your local SSA office to schedule an appointment to complete your application in person.
You should also strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with your claim. Not only will your attorney help you fill out the necessary paperwork, but he or she will also help you with the appeals process if your claim is denied.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
For more information on Multiple Myeloma and SSD, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/multiple-myeloma-and-social-security-disability