MULTIPLE MYELOMA & DISABILITY BENEFITS
Multiple myeloma is a rare, but serious, form of blood cancer. The exact cause of multiple myeloma is unknown. However, it starts with one atypical plasma cell which then grows in the bone marrow. This results in cancer cells. The myeloma cells don’t have a typical life cycle. Instead of multiplying and then dying, they continue dividing indefinitely. Hence, the term cancer. Multiple myeloma is also known as Kahler’s disease.
When you have multiple myeloma, your plasma cell crowd out the regular blood cells in your bones. The cells also let too much protein into your bones and blood. The plasma cells also send out chemicals that trigger other cells to eat away at your bones.
As multiple myeloma gets worse, the plasma cells spill out of your bone marrow and begin to spread. This causes organ damage. There’s no cure for Multiple myeloma. However, treatments can slow its spread.
OTHER PLASMA CELL DISORDERS SIMILAR TO MULTIPLE MYELOMA
Multiple myeloma is one of many conditions that can cause problems with your plasma cells. Others include:
- Monoclonal gammopathy. This condition occurs when your plasma cells make too many copies of one antibody. Multiple myeloma is a form of this condition. Another form, monoclonal gammopathy, might make you more likely to get multiple myeloma.
- Solitary plasmacytoma. This is like multiple myeloma, but it causes a single unusual plasma cell growth rather than many of them. The plasma cell growth can happen inside or outside a bone. It also raises your risk of multiple myeloma.
- Light chain amyloidosis. This condition causes unusual plasma cells in your bone marrow, but it does not cause as many unusual plasma cells as multiple myeloma.
- Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia. This condition is a type of both monoclonal gammopathy and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. The cells of this cancer have both plasma cells and lymphoid tissue.
SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE MYELOMA
Before your diagnosis of multiple myeloma, you might not notice any of the following symptoms. But over time, you may have:
- Bone pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Weight loss
- Upset stomach
- Frequent infections
- Severe thirst
- Weakness in your arms and legs
One of the main symptoms above, bone pain, is not a symptom we normally experience. However, it is the combination of these symptoms that may make you set up an appointment with your primary care doctor. Hopefully, your doctor will notice that these symptoms are not normal and send you to a cancer expert. A cancer doctor is an oncologist.
MULTIPLE MYELOMA COMPLICATIONS
Multiple myeloma, like most cancers, can cause physical problems. These problems include:
- Bone problems. Your bones can become weaker, leading to broken bones.
- Blood problems. You might get anemia. Anemia means your blood doesn’t have enough red blood cells. If you have anemia, then you will be tired, pale, and you may have heart problems. You can also have too few platelets, which makes it more difficult for your blood to clot.
- Infections. When you have myeloma, your body produces a lot of weak antibodies that crowd out healthy ones. This will impact your immune system and make it difficult for your body to fight infection.
- Kidney damage. Myeloma can impact your kidneys, making it difficult for them to filter the way they should. This can lead to kidney failure.
POSSIBLE TREATMENTS FOR MULTIPLE MYELOMA
There are many treatments for multiple myeloma, including medications that your doctor can give you. Additional treatments include:
STEM CELL TRANSPLANT
Your doctor might suggest that you have a stem cell transplant. A stem cell transplant occurs when your doctor removes some of your stem cells, then freezes and stores them. Your doctor can also use stem cells from a donor.
BISPHOSPHONATES FOR BONE PAIN
Your doctor might suggest other treatments if your multiple myeloma causes painful bone damage. You doctor might suggest you use a drug that helps slow bone breakdown. You can take these medicines as pills or get them through a needle.
SSA’S LISTING 13.07 FOR MULTIPLE MYELOMA
SSA’s listing 13.07 outlines what you need in order to meet the listing. Obviously, you first need a diagnosis of the disease. You will also need to comply with the treatment your doctor recommends. If the cancer does not respond to the treatment, then you meet the listing.
You can also meet the listing by having a bone marrow or stem cell transplant. If you undergo this procedure then you should be found disabled for one year from the date of the transplant.
Listing 13.07 Multiple myeloma (confirmed by appropriate serum or urine protein electrophoresis and bone marrow findings).
B. With bone marrow or stem cell transplantation. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of transplantation. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairments under the criteria for the affected body system.
IF YOU DON’T MEET LISTING 13.07, YOUR RESIDUAL FUNCTIONAL CAPACITY MATTERS
If you do not meet listing 13.07 for multiple myeloma, then a judge will determine your residual functional capacity (RFC). The RFC is what is “found” at step four of the SSA review process. DDS determines your RFC at the lower levels of your claim. However, once the case moves to the a hearing, it is the ALJ who will determine your RFC.
Your RFC can help you win benefits by showing that your cannot physical sustain a full time job due to the symptoms of multiple myeloma. Find out more about SSD hearings here.
In order for the ALJ’s RFC to comply with SSA’s rules, the decision by the judge must include a written discussion. The discussion must include how the evidence supports each conclusion.
The judge must cite specific medical facts. Also, the judge must discuss the other types of evidence in your case. The other evidence includes your testimony about your daily activities.
In defining your RFC, the ALJ must discuss your ability to complete an 8 hour work day, 40 hours a week. In all cases in which symptoms are alleged, such as pain from cancer, the RFC must:
- Contain a discussion of the medical evidence. This includes your complaints of pain and other symptoms. The judge can also include personal observations, if appropriate;
- Resolve any inconsistencies in the evidence as a whole; and
- Set forth a logical explanation of the effects of the symptoms of multiple myeloma, including pain, on your ability to work.
For more information about how the SSA defines your RFC, go to Social Security Ruling 96-8p. Your testimony about your multiple myeloma symptoms will help show that you cannot work 40 hours a week.
WE CAN WIN YOUR SSD & SSI BENEFITS
Throughout your case, our attorneys and staff help you collect your medical records. We will help you prove your multiple myeloma meets the SSA’s specific rules.
Your 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 a judge from 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 health. Learn more here about the questions the judge will ask at your hearing.
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 the pain from your multiple myeloma impacts your ability to concentrate. Or, how it impacts your ability to focus on work tasks. If you have multiple myeloma, then you will also need to describe the side effects of your cancer treatment.
HIRE US TO BE YOUR LAW FIRM
If you have multiple myeloma, 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 question the medical expert or the job 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.
Don’t take that chance. Hire an SSI lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah with the experience you need to win your benefits. Learn about Nevada SSD and SSI benefits here. Also, learn about Utah SSD benefits information here.
The burden to prove you deserve benefits is on you. Therefore, you may be without health insurance, but still need to go to the doctor. If that is the case, then we have resources for you. We have lists of free and lost cost health clinics in many states. For example, here is a list of free clinics in Idaho. We also have a list of free health services in Colorado and free health services in Utah. Finally, we have a list of free and low cost mental health services in Nevada.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE OUR LAW FIRM?
Another important factor to consider is what it costs to hire an attorney to represent you. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay an attorney fee until we win your case. The attorney fee comes out of your back benefit. If we do not win your case, then there is no back benefit. Therefore, you will not owe an attorney fee.
How much is the attorney fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. But, the fee is capped at $7200. You do not pay more than the cap of $7200. If you win, you will pay either 25% of the back benefit or the $7200 cap. You pay whatever is the lesser amount. For example, if your back benefit is $100,000, our attorney fee would be $7200, not $25,000. Or, if your benefit is $10,000, then you would pay 25% of the back benefit. That would be $2500.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. However, the costs are minimal. For example, you must pay for a copy of your medical records. The medical records cost is whatever your doctor charges for them. You owe costs whether we win or lose your case. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay a fee upfront. That doesn’t happen when you hire our law firm to help you win SSD and SSI benefits for cancer
WHAT WILL IT COST YOU IF YOU DON’T HIRE THE RIGHT LAWYER?
What will it cost you if you don’t hire a lawyer with the legal experience to win your benefits? For example, if you win benefits at 50 years old, then you will be paid for the next 17 years. You may also win two of years of past due benefits. On the line, if you are 50 years old, is 19 years of SSD payments.
Nineteen years is is 228 months. At $1200 a month (which is a lower than average monthly benefit amount), that is $273,600. Additionally, you will win a higher retirement benefit after the age of 67. Let’s say the average higher retirement benefit is $300 a month and you live to be 90 years old. That is another $82,800.
It costs 25% of your back benefit OR $7200 from your back benefit to pay your attorney. You pay us whatever is less and only if you win. If you win your case, then your attorney has just won you $356,400, plus early Medicare benefits. You attorney will be paid $7200 and you will be paid $349,200.
All attorneys charge the same fee. So, you can go it alone and not hire an attorney, but chances are you will lose $356,400. Or, you can hire an attorney with over 30 years of experience and pay $7200 and win $349,200. The choice is yours. But, we hope you can see that the cost of a lawyer with 30 years of experience is worth it.
WHAT WE DO TO HELP YOU WIN YOUR SSD BENEFITS
You do not need to obtain SSD benefits for multiple myeloma on your own. Our law firm can help file your SSD application. Also, we can help you file an appeal after every SSA denial. That way, you can focus on your health and living your life. Our attorneys and staff can:
- Send you the paperwork you need to become our client
- Help you file your application for SSD and SSI benefits
- Request an appeal if you receive an initial denial from DDS
- Help you confirm your Consultative Exam
- Request a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
- Prepare you to be a good witness at your SSA hearing
- Represent you at your hearing and question the expert witnesses
- Read more about the vocational expert here
- Learn more about the medical expert here
- Request review of an SSA decision with the Appeals Council
- Request review of an Appeals Council denial in Federal Court
If you file your application for SSD benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back quickly.
WE ARE EXPERTS IN SSD CASES
In the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI hearings for our clients. Additionally, we have won over $100 million in ongoing and back due SSD and SSI benefits for our clients.
During our time in business, we have seen the Social Security Administration change their rules. Over time, it has become more difficult to win Social Security cases, even if you have Multiple Myeloma. The medical evidence to prove you meet SSA’s rules is harder to obtain. Additionally, those who come to the hearing without an attorney are usually not 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 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 your application at a later time.
Meanwhile, if you don’t go back to work, your application for benefits is going forward with the SSA. SSDI benefits and SSI benefits are available to you, but first you must start an application. You can file an application online on the Social Security website.
LEARN ABOUT THE OUR LEGAL TEAM
Cannon Disability brings over 60 years of legal experience to your SSD and SSI case. For instance, Dianna Cannon has been helping people win SSD benefits since graduating from law school in 1992. Our other advocates, Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of legal experience. During our practice, we have won many SSD cases for cancer. You can learn more on our About Us page. You can also review our client paperwork on our Fee Agreement and Important Forms page.
If you have multiple myeloma, then contact us. We will help file your application for SSI and SSDI benefits. Also, we will make sure the SSA reviews your case under the rules. We will also try to get the SSA to decide your case quickly, because you have cancer. You can trust that we will do everything we can to win your SSDI and SSI benefits for multiple myeloma.
When you hire your SSD attorney, choose one who has over 30 years of experience. Choose a law office with a stellar record. You want the best attorney with the most legal experience 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 law. Choose Cannon Disability. Contact us now.