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Mesothelioma can I get SSDI benefits?

Recently on our disability forum a user asked, “I worked for years installing asbestos in buildings. I have recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma. What are my options for disability benefits? Will I qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?”


Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months or is expected to result in their death. Claimants must also be insured for Social Security Disability Insurance, which means they have worked and paid enough in payroll taxes to earn work credits to qualify for SSDI.

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesotheloima is a rare cancer that develops in a worker’s mesothelium (the lining of the body’s internal organs). Unfortunately, this condition can be difficult to diagnosis. If you believe you may have this condition it’s important to see a doctor immediately. Although the doctor will most likely request a CT scan, MRI, X-ray, and lung function test, it’s likely your condition may not be diagnosed without a tissue biopsy.

Keep in mind, it’s important that you notify your doctor if you have ever had exposure to asbestos, even if the exposure was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Addressing seemingly minor symptoms immediately, such as coughing and chest pain, is also important. Mesothelioma can metastasize to parts of the body outside the Mesothelium.

History of Asbestos

For decades experts have known about the risks of asbestos exposure and the likelihood that it could cause serious lung conditions such as mesothelioma. In fact, the first asbestos lawsuit, Borel vs. Fibreboard Paper, was filed in 1973. Since then there has been thousands of lawsuits filed against companies by claimants who have developed serious respiratory diseases and cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.

How did I get exposed?

Workers who work with asbestos are at risk for swallowing or inhaling asbestos fibers. If the exposure is repeated and heavy it’s likely the asbestos fibers will become trapped in the worker’s lungs and respiratory tract. Often, workers do not realize until twenty or thirty years later that they are sick.

Common symptoms of Mesothelium

Workers who suffer from mesothelioma often have the following severe symptoms:

Workers may also suffer from much more severe health issues such as dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, Horner’s syndrome (nerve damage to the face), hoarseness, nerve damage in the arms, and hypoglycemia.

Applying for SSDI benefits

Claimants who are unable to work due to mesothelioma may qualify for SSDI benefits (assuming they meet the nonmedical requirements). Make sure to see a doctor and get medical evidence that your condition is so severe you cannot work for at least 12 continuous months.

Should I file a lawsuit?

Although you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance for mesothelioma, you may also be entitled to compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim. If you believe you may have a personal injury lawsuit, however, it’s important to consult with a personal injury lawyer. There have been funds established for workers who have severe lung conditions related to asbestos exposure. Talk to a lawyer about whether or not you may qualify for compensation.

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