Will you be found disabled by the Social Security Administration because you have been diagnosed with Oligodendroglioma?
Honestly, it depends on what kind of Oligodendroglioma and how severe your symptoms are. The Bishop Law Firm represents Social Security Disability clients in Raleigh, NC and surrounding areas. Call us today, 919-615-3095 or start your free case review now!
What is Oligodendroglioma?
Oligodendroglioma is a rare form of cancer which forms a tumor in the brain or on the spinal cord. The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system (“CNS”). The nerve cells affected by the tumor will cause symptoms in the part of the body controlled by those nerves. Speech, balance, hearing, reflexes, sight and most other body functions can be affected by the tumor. Gliomas rarely spread within or outside the CNS (Via NIH).
Oligodendrogliomas can be detected through an MRI, neurological testing or biopsy. As discussed above, your symptoms are illustrative of what nerves the tumor is affecting. There are two types of oligodendroglioma, grade II and grade III. Grade II tumors can be present for years with no symptoms but can progress without treatment. Grade III are malignant (fast growing) and are called anaplastic oligodendrogliomas.
The first line of treatment for anaplastic oligodendrogliomas is surgery (awake brain surgery) to remove the tumor, if possible. Radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy drugs are also treatments. Reoccurrence of the tumor and damage to surrounding healthy tissue during treatment are both concerns.
Social Security Disability
Social Security in general offers two types of benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is based on the credits from the work that you have done in the last 10 years. SSI is a need based program that revolves around your income and resources. You must be found disabled by Social Security before you are entitled to either type of benefit. The process for getting on disability benefits can take several levels: initial, reconsideration, hearing, Appeals Council and District Court and if necessary, repeat.
The most important things that you can do for your disability case are: file an initial claim, complete all paperwork DDS sends you, appeal if denied, go to your doctor and follow all prescribed treatment. While I can not guarantee that you will win if you do the above, I can assure you that if you do not follow these steps you probably won’t win your disability case. As with everything, there are exceptions, but this is the norm.
The first step is to file a claim. You can do so online, at your local SSA or by phone. Don’t delay as it may cause you to lose benefits!
Also read Social Security Disability for more information on the disability process.
Social Security Disability for Oligodendroglioma
SSA has placed Oligodendroglioma Brain Cancer – Grade III on their compassionate allowance list via Listing 13.13 A 1. The Compassionate Allowance List is how SSA attempts to identify those that need help quickly in the disability process. A confirmed diagnosis is all that is needed to meet the compassionate allowance requirements. This diagnosis should be pointed out to the Social Security Administration when the application is made and to the the disability examiner at DDS assigned to the case.
Even if you do not meet Listing 13.13, you can still be found disabled based on the Medical Vocational Guidelines (Grids) or based on the combination of your impairments (if your cancer prevents you from working).
For those with Grade II, as discussed above, tumors can progress if left untreated. Brain or spinal cord surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can leave permanent nerve damage to what were otherwise healthy tissues. Depending on the extent of the damage and location, your residual disability could be mild to severe.
I frequently tell my clients, that the name of their impairment is not as important as the severity of their symptoms to the Social Security Administration. If someone you care for has severe symptoms from oligodendroglioma or from the affects of their treatment, they should file for Social Security Disability as soon as possible.
The Bishop Law Firm has represented Social Security Disability clients in North Carolina since 2009. We do not get paid unless you win and we offer free case reviews. Start your free case review online now!