The American Cancer Society expects that more than 30,000 people in the United States will receive a multiple myeloma diagnosis in 2018. Multiple myeloma is a type of cancer that affects the plasma cells that are present in your bone marrow. The main function of the plasma cells is to make proteins known as antibodies that help the body fight infection. When plasma cells develop abnormally, they become myeloma cells that can quickly multiply, increasing the level of protein in the blood to a dangerous degree.
Many significant symptoms can then result, making it difficult or impossible for victims to carry out daily activities, including the ability to work. Some of the serious symptoms associated with this condition include:
Bone damage. Multiple myeloma can cause damage and fractures to the bones when the abnormal plasma accumulates in the bone. Victims may experience severe pain, tingling, or numbness as a result. Bone damage and fractures most often occur in the lower back and ribs.
Increased calcium in the blood. This may result in excessive thirst, nausea, constipation, loss of appetite, confusion, and kidney problems.
Kidney problems. If a multiple myeloma sufferer experiences kidney problems, he or she may show signs of muscle weakness, difficulty thinking, constipation, loss of appetite, increased thirst, increased urine production, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue. Ultimately, these kidney problems can progress to full-blown kidney disease.
Anemia. Anemia results from decreased red blood cells in the blood. Sufferers may experience fatigue as a result.
Repeated infections. People suffering from multiple myeloma often experience frequent infections, including pneumonia, kidney infections, and skin infections.
Hyperviscosity syndrome. This condition occurs as a result of thickening of the blood caused by increased protein. Patients may experience fatigue, headache, heart failure, and even blindness.
You should discuss all of these possible symptoms with your doctor and with your Social Security disability lawyer before you apply for benefits.
Obtaining Disability Benefits for Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is one of the conditions included in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments. According to Section 13.07, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have multiple myeloma as evidenced by appropriate serum or urine protein electrophoresis and bone marrow findings and one of the following is true:
You have had initial anticancer therapy and your cancer has failed to respond or has progressed.
You have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. In this case, you may be eligible for 12 months from the date of the transplant. After the 12 months, your eligibility will be evaluated according to any residual impairment that you suffer.
Even if you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify for benefits. If your specific case of multiple myeloma does not meet the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book guidelines, you must instead show that you are eligible for benefits by demonstrating that you are unable to work as a result of your condition.
However you qualify, it is important to provide evidence of your eligibility to the Social Security Administration. This includes sufficient medical evidence, such as:
Laboratory test results showing that you have qualifying protein levels in your blood or urine.
Laboratory test results showing your bone marrow findings.
A history of the treatments you have received, including type and length, and your response to such treatments.
Evidence that shows your cancer is getting worse despite treatment.
Other documentation may also be important or necessary in order to convince the Social Security Administration of your eligibility for benefits.
Get Help Before You Apply for Disability Benefits
Attempting to obtain benefits as a result of your inability to return to work is more difficult if done without the guidance of an experienced legal professional. We can help maximize your chances of obtaining the benefits you deserve by assisting you through this process. Contact us today via this website or by phone to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about your rights.
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