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Medulloblastoma and SSA Disability Benefits

Medulloblastoma or brain cancer consists of tumors which are located in the cerebellum (which is the brain area which manages complex motor functions). Medulloblastoma can occur in the outer or central cerebellum, accounting for up to 20% of all brain tumors in children. Children ages three to eight or more likely to have medulloblastoma, but it can occur in individuals of any age. Unfortunately, medulloblastoma is the most common type of malignant cancer and the outcome for many claimants can be poor.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Cerebellar medulloblastoma (1) in adult (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]Cerebellar medulloblastoma (1) in adult[/caption]

Symptoms for Medulloblastoma

There are a variety of symptoms caused by medulloblastoma which may make it difficult for you to work. General symptoms can include increased intracranial pressure, vomiting, lethargy, enlarged head, brain tumor, personality changes, loss or motor skills, attention deficit, impaired speech, reduced muscle tone and stiff neck muscles.

Winning SSDI or SSI for Medulloblastoma

The SSA has two methods to determine if you are disabled and unable to work: determining if your health condition is listed on the SSA listing of impairments (also known as the Blue Book this listing outlines the conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling) or whether you have the residual capacity to continue to work through a medical vocational allowance.

Meeting a Listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments for Medulloblastoma

The SSA does have a listing for serious cancers. Most cancers are evaluated under 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases which includes listings for Lymphoma, Leukemia, brain tumors, breast cancer, lung cancer, cancer of the small intestines, stomach cancer and pancreatic cancer, just to name a few.

Medulloblastoma is most frequently evaluated under section 13.13 Nervous System.  The SSA will determine if your condition is progressive and recurrent despite therapy and whether you have “documented metastases, grades III and IV astrocytomas, glioblastoma multiforme, ependymoblastoma, diffuse intrinsic brain stem gliomas, or primary sarcomas.”

Keep in mind, having a diagnosis which is in the SSA Listing will not be sufficient to get SSDI or SSI. Your condition must “meet or exceed” the listing and you must meet the nonmedical requirements for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Additionally, the SSA will expect you to have sufficient medical evidence of your conditions and symptoms including recent medical records which should include laboratory findings, symptoms and signs. If you have had surgery to remove the cancer the SSA would expect to have surgical notes, operative notes and pathological reports detailing the microscopic examination of the cancerous tissue.

Winning SSDI or SSI through a medical vocational allowance

Many claimants may have a cancerous condition but it does not meet or exceed the listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments. Does this mean you cannot qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits? No, many claimants, especially older claimants, may be able to win benefits by proving that they do not have the residual capacity to continue to work.

The SSA will evaluate your work history and determine whether you can work sedentary, light, moderate or heavy work. They will consider your age, education, work skills and health condition to determine if you can work your current job, recent work or retrain for new work. If they determine you do not have the residual capacity to work you can be awarded SSI or SSDI through a medical vocational allowance.
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