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Cancer of the Esophagus

Esophageal caner is caner of the esophagus which is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. SSI or SSDI claimants who have this condition suffer from hoarseness, severe weight loss, difficulty swallowing, chest pain, burning in the chest, choking while eating and a constant cough.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"]Very low mag. Image: Esophageal adenocarcinoma... Esophageal adenocarcinoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

Although this cancer occurs in both men and women it is most common in men who are over the age of 70. The frequency of occurrence increases if the man smokes, is obese and consumes alcohol. Scientists are not sure what causes esophageal cancer, but they know it is due to mutations in the DNA of the claimant, dividing the cells and causing a tumor in the esophagus.

According to WebMD, there are three types of esophageal cancers and each of these have different treatment options. Adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer occurs in the lower portion of the esophagus. This is the most common type found in men in the United States. The second type is Squamous cell carcinoma and it occurs in the middle of the esophagus. The third grouping is called rare cancer groups and includes other rare forms of cancer including choriocarcinoma, lymphoma, melanoma, sarcoma and small cell cancer.

Winning SSI or SSDI benefits for Esophageal Cancer

The first step to winning benefits is to get a clear diagnosis of your condition. Next, the claimant must seek proper medical treatment. The SSA will expect claimants to get an endoscopic evaluation, barium swallow test with X-rays, biopsy and consistent medical care.

The Social Security Administration will evaluate a claimant’s disabling health condition in one of two ways: determining if their esophageal cancer meets a listing on the SSA Listing of the Impairments (also known as the “Blue Book” this listing identifies all the conditions and symptoms that the SSA considers automatically disabling) or through a medical vocational allowance. The medical vocational process allows the SSA to review the claimant’s age, work history, education and residual functional capacity to work to determine if they can work their current job, previous job or retrain for new work.

Meeting a Listing for Esophageal Cancer

The SSA does have a listing for esophageal cancer under 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, Section 13.16 Esophagus or stomach. Under this listing the claimant must be diagnosed with carcinoma or sarcoma of the esophagus or the stomach and the cancer must be inoperable, unresectable, extending to surrounding structures, or recurrent and there must be metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes.

If you have medical evidence that your condition meets this listing you can apply right away and you should be approved. As mentioned above, getting a clear diagnosis and having medical evidence to support your SSI or SSDI will be critical to approval. Failure to have the right diagnosis or medical care may result in a denial of SSI or SSDI benefits.

Winning benefits through a medical vocational allowance for esophageal cancer

The medical vocational allowance process is more complicated than meeting a listing. The SSA has very specific criteria and charts they will review to determine if you can continue to work. At this stage age becomes a significant factor because the SSA will generally assume a younger claimant will have a better chance of retraining for new work. Talk to a disability lawyer if your esophageal cancer does not meet a listing and you are attempting to win SSDI or SSI through a medical vocational allowance.
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