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Disability Benefits for Thyroid Disease [2/2] - Thyroid Cancer

Disability Benefits for Thyroid Disease [2/2] - Thyroid Cancer

According to a report by Social Security Administration, every 1 in 4 people can face a severe disability before retirement age (65 to 67 in US). However, all individuals, whether they are 21 or 61 are vulnerable to catching unexpected impairments or circumstances at any point in their lives.

Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower half of your throat. It is responsible for producing hormones that control different functionalities of the body. It is also a production unit for proteins and decides how quickly your body uses energy and its sensitivity or the decisions of how to react as a result of other hormones. The thyroid cancer is a cancer of the thyroid gland which directly affects in all the functionalities of your body, including heart functions, energy consumption, muscular synthesis etc. Fortunately, the disease is covered by both Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the long-term disability insurance (LTD).

Can I get Disability Benefits for Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid disease is very frequent among Americans – however, women have a higher chance of developing thyroid disorders than men. According to a survey, almost 12 percent of the US population will develop a thyroid condition at some point in their lives. The SSA analyzes a disability application on the severity of a disease and the longevity of its symptoms. Although the thyroid diseases are considered as endocrinal disease, the impacts of thyroid cancer can vary including causing problems in cardiovascular functioning of the heart (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism causing heart problems) or immune system disorders (Grave's disease). Whether you get SSDI, SSI or LTD benefits depends on the type of thyroid cancer you have and how it impacts your life. *You can read about other common medical conditions in the Blue Book here.

Fortunately, most types of thyroid cancers are treatable and can be cured with careful adaption of medical prescriptions. However, some thyroid cancers can be very aggressive and can prove fatal. The disability examiner will analyze your listed symptoms and medical documentations, along with your physician's opinions before deciding whether or not you qualify for disability benefits for thyroid cancer. Hence, it depends on what type of thyroid cancer you have.

How does the SSA view thyroid cancer?

The SSA requires some of the impairments to be limiting until some period till it considers the condition as eligible for disability benefits (mostly 12 months to 18 months). If your condition did not last that long, but has a history of complete remission for at least 3 years or more, that is a tumor or metastases that disappears and reappears, then the SSA will also consider the application, whether or not you were working substantially during the non-remission periods.

The SSA has a unique listed for cancer of the thyroid gland in its Blue Book of Impairments in {13.09}. You are more likely to win disability benefits for thyroid cancer if your condition has the following symptoms:

  • i.Anaplastic (undifferentiated) carcinoma;
  • ii.Carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes progressive despite radioactive iodine therapy;
  • iii.Medullary carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes;

In addition to the above requirements, your disability examiner will also need all types of diagnosis and pathology reports, treatments, operative procedures, drug prescriptions and your physician's statements while analyzing your application. For thyroid cancer, this also includes any iodine or radiotherapy for your thyroid gland. Remember it is very important to secure medical evidence of all your thyroid cancer diagnosis for a successful SSDI application. These include:

  • -Origin of the cancer;
  • -Extent of involvement;
  • -Duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy;
  • -Effects of any post-therapeutic residuals;

At the end of the day, it never hurts to be prepared – even if you do not have thyroid cancer or your symptoms are not that worse, it pays to keep all the documentation secure.

For those who qualify for SSDI benefits, the SSA may cover one or all of the following depending on the severity of your symptoms for thyroid cancer:

  • - Medicare coverage, beginning 24 months after SSDI benefits start;
  • - Annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLA);
  • - Dependent benefits;
  • - Protection for Social Security retirement benefits because of a records freeze;
  • - Free support with returning to work through the Ticket to Work program for those who are medically able;

Types of thyroid cancer

There are 5 main types of thyroid cancer:

  • - Papillary thyroid cancer: Papillary thyroid cancer develops from follicular cells and usually grows very slowly. It is the most common type of thyroid cancer. It is usually found in 1 lobe or one side of the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland. Only 10% to 20% of papillary thyroid cancer appears in both lobes. It is a differentiated thyroid cancer, meaning that the tumor looks similar to normal thyroid tissue under a microscope. Papillary thyroid cancer can often spread to lymph nodes;

  • - Follicular thyroid cancer: Follicular thyroid cancer also develops from follicular cells and usually grows slowly. Follicular thyroid cancer is also a differentiated thyroid cancer, but it is far less common than papillary thyroid cancer. Follicular thyroid cancer rarely spreads to lymph nodes;
  • **Follicular thyroid cancer and papillary thyroid cancer are the most common differentiated thyroid cancers. They are very often curable, especially when found early and in people younger than 50. Together, follicular and papillary thyroid cancers make up about 95% of all thyroid cancer.

  • - Hurthle cell cancer: Hurthle cell cancer, also called Hurthle cell carcinoma, is cancer that is arises from a certain type of follicular cell. Hurthle cell cancers are much more likely to spread to lymph nodes than other follicular thyroid cancers;

  • - Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC): MTC accounts for about 3% of all thyroid cancers. MTC develops in the C cells and is sometimes the result of a genetic syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2). This metastases can be controlled if it is diagnosed and treated before it spreads to other parts of the body. About 25% of all MTC is familial. This means that family members of the patient will have a possibility of a similar diagnosis;

  • - Anaplastic thyroid cancer: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is the rare type. This makes up 1% of all types of thyroid cancers. It is a fast-growing carcinoma, poorly differentiated thyroid cancer that may start from differentiated thyroid cancer or a benign thyroid tumor. Anaplastic thyroid cancer grows so quickly, it is very difficult to treat successfully;

For those with anaplastic carcinoma, expedited treatment for "compassionate allowances" is available. This is due to the severity and poor prognosis of the cancer. Compassionate allowances are available for certain diseases to be able to receive benefits quickly.

In addition to them, many other types of lymphoma can start to grow in or around the thyroid gland. Hence, symptoms may vary a lot for each person with a thyroid disorder.

Common symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

  • -Coughing and coughing up blood;
  • -Difficulty swallowing;
  • -Hoarseness or change in your voice;
  • -Shortness of breath;
  • -Loud breathing;
  • -Neck pain;
  • -Enlarged thyroid gland, and
  • -Lump on your thyroid gland (which is fast growing in those with anaplastic carcinoma);

Treatments that are common for thyroid cancer like chemo and radiation can make thyroid cancer patients so sick that they can't work while they are in treatment.

How to Qualify for SSDI payments for Thyroid Cancer

More than 40,000 people every year are diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and more than 10,000 people die from this metastases. Thyroid cancer is eligible for Social Security disability benefits because it's a serious illness that can make it impossible for people to work while they are being treated for the disorder.

In order to make your SSDI application for thyroid cancer set for approval right away, you must meet the following criteria as discussed in detail above:

  • A. Meet a Medical Listing (for instance autoimmune disorder for Grave's disease, among the SSA's Blue Book of Impairments);
  • B. Medical Evidence (this includes all types of medical prescriptions, drugs, surgery, operative procedures and the related pathology reports you may have);
  • C. Lack of Ability to Work (also called substantial gainful activity);

The SSA will look at all your limitations and symptoms caused by your thyroid condition together. If you think you meet the criteria, you must file for your disability benefits right away, since the procedure may also last for upto 6 months before you start getting benefits.

You can seek counsel of our disability attorneys for help in filing for disability benefits, SSDI payments for your condition here.

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Thursday, 01 October 2020