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ACUTE LEUKEMIA & DISABILITY BENEFITS

Acute Leukemia is a rapidly progressing cancer that qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits. Acute Leukemia starts when a cell changes and becomes a leukemia cell. Because it no longer matures the way it should, it grows out of control. Often, it divides to make new cells faster than normal.

Leukemia cells also don’t die when they should. This allows them to build up in the bone marrow, crowding out normal cells. Then, the cancer causes large numbers of immature white blood cells to enter the blood stream. The cells can travel to your organs. Once inside the organ, the leukemia cells make it so the organ doesn’t work properly.

Because it is a disabling cancer, Acute leukemia is on SSA’s compassionate allowances list. Learn more information about compassionate allowances.

Acute Leukemia

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TYPES OF LEUKEMIA

If the growth of the white blood cells involves the lymphoid line, then your disease is acute lymphocytic leukemia. Similarly, if the growth of the white blood cells involves the myeloid line, then you have acute myeloid leukemia. Acute lymphocytic leukemia is also known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Acute lymphocytic leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children. If the diagnosis occurs in a child, then there is good chance for a cure through treatment. Acute lymphocytic leukemia can also occur in adults. However, if you are an adult with the disease, the chance of a cure is far less.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTING FOR ACUTE LEUKEMIA

The diagnosis of Acute Leukemia is made by physical examination and history. Your doctor will then perform a complete blood count. Also, your doctor may perform specific tests. These include a peripheral blood smear and bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. Your doctor may also do imaging test or a spinal fluid test. In the case of Acute Leukemia, bone marrow testing is definitive of the disease.

POSSIBLE TESTS FOR LEUKEMIA

  • Blood tests. Blood tests may reveal too many or too few white blood cells. Likewise, a blood test may show not enough red blood cells and not enough platelets. A blood test can also show the presence of blast cells. These are the immature cells normally found in the bone marrow.
  • Bone marrow test. During bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, the doctor uses a needle to remove a sample of your bone marrow. The sample comes from your hipbone or breastbone. Next, the bone marrow sample is sent to a lab for testing to look for leukemia cells. Doctors in the lab will classify blood cells into specific types based on their size, shape, and other genetic features. They will also look for changes in the cancer cells in order to determine whether the leukemia cells began from B lymphocytes or T lymphocytes. This information helps your doctor develop a treatment plan for your acute leukemia.
  • Imaging tests. Doctors use imaging tests, like an X-ray, a CT scan, or an ultrasound scan, in order to help determine whether the cancer has spread to your brain, spinal cord, or other parts of your body.
  • Spinal fluid test. Your doctor may also perform a lumbar puncture test, also known as a spinal tap. The spinal tap collects a sample of spinal fluid. Spinal fluid is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Next, the doctors test the sample to see whether the cancer cells are in the spinal fluid.

Acute Leukemia mind map, medical concept for presentations and reports

PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS OF ACUTE LEUKEMIA

The early symptoms of acute leukemia may be similar to the flu. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue;
  • Fever;
  • Dyspnea;
  • Weight loss;
  • Bony pain;
  • Bleeding and clotting problems;
  • Swelling in the abdomen;
  • Lumps or spots on the skin; and
  • Enlarged lymph nodes.

THE THREE PHASES OF TREATMENT FOR ACUTE LEUKEMIA

Cancer specialists treat acute leukemia in three phases. Induction therapy is the first phase of treatment. The purpose of induction therapy is to kill the leukemia cells in the blood and bone marrow. If the leukemia cells die, then your cancer goes into remission.

Post-remission therapy is the second phase of treatment. It begins once the leukemia is in remission. The purpose of the second phase of treatment is to kill any remaining leukemia cells that may not be active. However, those cells could cause a relapse, so the goal is to eliminate them.

The third phase of treatment is maintenance therapy. The goal of this phase is to prevent a relapse of the acute leukemia. Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment used during this phase. It involves the use of high-dose, intense drugs and direct installation of chemotherapy into the spinal fluid. Additionally, your doctor may recommend high-dose stem cell transplantation. It is not uncommon for individuals in this phase to develop severe infectious and bleeding complications. If this happens, then you will need an inpatient stay in the hospital with IV antibiotics and transfusion support.

POSSIBLE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ACUTE LEUKEMIA

Treatments for acute leukemia may include:

  • Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is typically used as an induction therapy for children and adults with acute lymphocytic leukemia. The chemotherapy drugs can also be used in the consolidation and maintenance phases.
  • Targeted therapy. Targeted drug treatments focus on specific abnormalities present within cancer cells. By blocking these abnormalities, targeted drug treatments can cause cancer cells to die. Your leukemia cells will be tested to see if targeted therapy will be helpful for you. Targeted therapy can be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy uses high-powered beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells. If your cancer cells spread to the central nervous system, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy.
  • Bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant, also known as a stem cell transplant, is an option for treatment if relapse of the disease occurs. This procedure allows someone with leukemia to reestablish healthy bone marrow by replacing leukemic bone marrow with leukemia-free marrow from a healthy person. A bone marrow transplant begins with high doses of chemotherapy or radiation to destroy any leukemia-producing bone marrow. Your bone marrow is then replaced by bone marrow from a donor.
  • Engineering immune cells to fight leukemia. A specialized treatment called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy takes your body’s germ-fighting T-cells and engineers them to fight cancer. These T-cells are infused back into your body.

RISK FACTORS FOR ACUTE LEUKEMIA

There are factors that may increase the risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia. These factors include:

  • Previous cancer treatment. Children and adults who’ve had certain types of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for other kinds of cancer may have an increased risk of developing acute lymphocytic leukemia. If you child has leukemia along with low birth weight, read about SSI benefits here.
  • Exposure to radiation. People exposed to very high levels of radiation, such as survivors of a nuclear reactor accident, have an increased risk of developing acute lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Genetic disorders. Certain genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, come with a higher risk of acute lymphocytic leukemia.

ACUTE LEUKEMIA MEETS LISTING 13.06A AND 113.06A

13.06 Leukemia. (See 13.00K2.)

A. Acute leukemia (including T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

OR

B. Chronic myelogenous leukemia, as described in 1 or 2:

1. Accelerated or blast phase (see 13.00K2b). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

2. Chronic phase, as described in a or b:

a. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

b. Progressive disease following initial anticancer therapy.

CHILDHOOD LISTING 113.06  FOR LEUKEMIA

113.06 Leukemia (See 113.00K2)

A. Acute leukemia (including all types of lymphoblastic lymphoma and juvenile chronic myelogenous leukemia (JCML). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

OR

B. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (except JCML), as described in 1 or 2:

1. Accelerated or blast phase (see 113.00K2b). Consider under a disability until at least 24 months from the date of diagnosis or relapse, or at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation, whichever is later. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

2. Chronic phase, as described in a or b:

a. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairment(s) under the criteria for the affected body system.

b. Progressive disease following initial anticancer therapy.

OTHER FORMS OF LEUKEMIA

There are other forms of Leukemia that SSA considers as disabling. Here is a list that is found under Listing 13.06:

b. Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The SSA need a diagnosis of CML based upon documented granulocytosis, including immature forms such as differentiated or undifferentiated myelocytes and myeloblasts, and a chromosomal analysis that demonstrates the Philadelphia chromosome. In the absence of a chromosomal analysis, or if the Philadelphia chromosome is not present, the diagnosis may be made by other methods consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice. The requirement of CML in the accelerated or blast phase is met in 13.06B if laboratory findings show the proportion of blast (immature) cells in the peripheral blood or bone marrow is 10 percent or greater.

c. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

i. The SSA requires the diagnosis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) to be documented by evidence of a chronic lymphocytosis of at least 10,000/mm3 for 3 months or longer, or other acceptable diagnostic techniques consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge and clinical practice.

ii. They evaluate the complications and residual impairment(s) from CLL under the appropriate listings, such as 13.05A2, or the hematological listings (7.00).

d. Elevated white cell count. In cases of chronic leukemia (either myelogenous or lymphocytic), an elevated white cell count, in itself, is not a factor in determining the severity of the impairment.

3. Macroglobulinemia or heavy chain disease. The SSA requires the diagnosis of these diseases to be confirmed by protein electrophoresis or immunoelectrophoresis. They evaluate the resulting impairment(s) under the appropriate listings, such as 13.05A2 or the hematological listings (7.00).

CANNON DISABILITY CAN WIN YOUR SSD & SSI DISABILITY BENEFITS

Throughout your disability case, our attorneys and paralegals help you collect your medical records. We will help you prove your acute leukemia meets the SSA’s disability criteria. If you have another form of cancer, like multiple myeloma, then read here.

Medical records are crucial to winning your case. Learn more about the importance of medical records here. Once the evidence is complete, your case will be ready for a hearing. Your day in court is before an administrative law judge for the Social Security Administration. And, you are the main witness.

Prior to your hearing, we will meet with you to talk about the judge’s questions. We will try to explain what kinds of questions you will be asked. Also, we will also try to prepare you to answer those questions. You will be answering questions about your disability.

For example, you will need to be able to talk about your ability to lift, sit, stand, and walk, throughout an eight hour work day. This is known as your residual functional capacity. You will also need to discuss whether your disability impacts your ability to concentrate and focus on work tasks. If you have acute leukemia, you will also need to describe how your treatment affects your ability to work.

HIRE CANNON DISABILITY TO BE YOUR DISABILITY ADVOCATE

If you have acute leukemia, a medical expert may testify at your hearing about whether you meet SSA’s listing for cancer. If you don’t hire an attorney, then there is a good chance you will not be able to cross-examine the medical or vocational expert at your hearing. You also may not know what kinds of questions the judge will ask. Similarly, you may not be ready to answer those questions in the proper way. Therefore, it is likely that you will not win your case at the hearing level.

Don’t take that chance. Hire a lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah with the experience you need to win your disability case. Learn about Nevada Disability benefits here. Also, learn about Utah Disability benefits information here. If you need a disability lawyer in Colorado we can help you. Likewise, we represent claimants for California disability benefits too.

DISABILITY CASES ARE OUR SPECIALTY

In the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 disability hearings for our clients. Additionally, we have won over $100 million in ongoing and past-due SSD and SSI disability benefits for our clients.

During our time in business, we have seen the Social Security Administration change their policies. Over time, it has become more difficult to win Social Security cases, even if you have acute leukemia. The medical evidence to prove that you meet SSA’s listing requirements is more stringent. Additionally, those who come to the hearing without representation are not usually successful in winning benefits.

If you have any type of cancer, then you know you are not going to be able to work for more than 12 months. Therefore, you need to apply for disability benefits. You need to do so right away. Don’t wait. Apply for benefits even if you think you might go back to work. If you do go back to work, then you can always withdraw the disability application.

Meanwhile, if you don’t go back to work, you have started the application process. SSDI benefits and SSI benefits are available to you if you start an application on the Social Security website.

HIRE CANNON DISABILITY WITH NO MONEY UPFRONT

We will use our skills to help you through the disability process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make it easier for you. We offer a free consultation. There is no obligation to become a client. If you call, then you can simply ask questions. We will answer. Also, if we can’t help you, we will refer you to someone who can.

It also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, the fee is currently capped at $6000. It will be going up to a cap of $7200 in November 2022. However, even if the cap goes up, you never pay more than the cap. And, 25% is usually less than the cap. You will pay the lesser amount.

If there are costs in your case, then you pay those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. Usually the only cost is to pay for a copy of your medical records. You owe costs whether we win or lose. Again, attorney fees are paid from your back benefit. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay upfront. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So how can you pay? The only way for you to pay us is for us to win your case. So, that is our goal. Contact us today for help with your acute leukemia case.

LEARN ABOUT YOUR DISABILITY LEGAL TEAM

Cannon Disability brings over 60 years of legal experience to your disability case. For instance, Dianna Cannon has been representing people with disabilities since graduating from law school in 1992. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of litigation experience. During our time in practice, we have won many cancer cases. You can learn more on our About Us page.

If you or your child have acute leukemia, then contact us. We will help file your disability application. Also, we will make sure the SSA examines your case under the compassionate allowances rules. This will expedite your claim. You can trust that we will do everything in our power to win your SSD and SSI benefits for acute leukemia.

When you hire your disability attorney, choose one who has over 30 years of experience and a stellar record. You want the best disability attorney to help you. Find one who understands the system. You need to win benefits. In order to win, you should choose a law firm who only practices Social Security disability law. Choose Cannon Disability. Contact us now.

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