Question: I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma. Do I qualify for long term disability benefits?
What is Lymphoma?
Lymphoma has two forms: Hodgkin Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s Disease) and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Hodgkin Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s Disease), is a type of cancer of the lymphatic system. Hodgkin’s disease is usually first detected by a swollen lymph node. Blood tests and a biopsy can confirm the disease. Treatment is usually chemotherapy and/or radiation. The vast majority of people have some form of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. There are many forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including B-cell, T-cell, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia. Symptoms of both Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma include:
- Symptoms of Lymphoma
- Swollen lymph node(s)
- Abdominal swelling
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- Weight Loss
Lymphoma can be treated through a number of treatment options.
- Active monitoring- Sometimes your doctor will advise monitoring the growth if it is very slow. Lab work periodically is standard to check the progression.
- Radiation therapy- Radiation therapy is using high powered energy beams to dissolve the cancerous cells. Sometimes radiation can be used instead of full rounds of chemotherapy.
- Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy is a standard treatment for most cancers. It involves administering drugs through an IV to destroy the fast-growing cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often used to supplement chemotherapy to make sure the disease has been killed.
- Immunotherapy- There are some drugs that help strengthen the immune system to help fight off cancerous cells.
Disability and Lymphoma
Lymphoma treatments can last for months and even years depending on the severity of the disease that is causing patients to become very ill and unable to work. For this reason, you may be entitled to long-term disability benefits.
To automatically qualify for social security benefits, you will need to prove that your Lymphoma meets one of these two categories for non-hodgkin’s Lymphoma:
- Aggressive Lymphoma that does not disappear after one round of treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation.
- Indolent Lymphoma that requires more than one round of treatment in less than one year
If you are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, you may still qualify for benefits if you are expected to need treatment for more than one year. You can still apply for long-term disability benefits even if you have been denied for social security as long as you show strong evidence that you cannot work.
Proof of Lymphoma
Providing evidence to support your disability is the cornerstone of your claim. Your complete medical file including but not limited to test results, lab work results, x-rays, and doctors notes, are needed to file a successful claim. Have your doctor complete a residual functional capacity form that outlines exactly what job tasks you can and cannot perform will also help your case. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can create extreme fatigue limiting the amount of hours you can work each week. Surgical procedures can also cause you to miss work for recovery and then only return to light duty with restrictions. The RFC form will outline everything the doctor feels is safe for you to do without injuring yourself.
Lymphoma is considered a serious illness by doctors and the social security administration. If you do receive long term disability benefits, your insurance agency may require you to continue to apply for social security benefits. This is a way for the insurance company to offset the payments they are making to you. Read your entire policy, if it is required, you must comply or risk your LTD benefits being terminated.
Have You Been Denied?
If you have already received a letter of denial, it would be a good idea to contact a LTD attorney that can help you navigate the process with the insurance company. An experienced LTD attorney can help you gather all the documents you need to create a complete administrative file. They can also help you stay on track with your timeline. Most cases have a deadline for appeals.
It’s important to note that your Long-Term Disability attorney does not get paid until you do so that you can proceed with your case without fear of upfront legal bills or costs.
Although based in Florida, the Ortiz Law Firm represents claimants across the United States.
If you’d like to speak to one of our Pensacola Long-Term Disability Insurance Attorneys about your denied claim, contact us at (888) 321-8131 to schedule a consultation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.