SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Filing a Social Security Disability Application - How to File & the Information that is Needed by SSA
Do you need a Lawyer at the Administrative Law Judge Disability Hearing?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of benefits
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much is paid for the Social Security Disability Attorney Fee?
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
How To Get Disability Through SSDI or SSI Approved
Should you get Help from a Disability Attorney before the Claim has been Denied?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
Qualifying for Disability - What is Social Security Looking for?
How do I check the status of my Social Security disability claim?
What Expenses Will A Social Security Attorney Charge In Addition To The Fee?
Facts about Lymphedema and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1) Lymphedema may be either primary or secondary. Primary lymphedema is caused by issues with the development of lymph nodes and vessels, and is inherited. Secondary lymphedema is caused by damage to the lymph nodes or vessels, through infection, injury, surgery, cancer, or radiation treatments for cancer.
2) Lymphedema is characterized by abnormal swelling, usually seen in the arms and legs. Symptoms can include swelling in arms, legs, fingers, and toes, tightness, heaviness, discomfort and aching in arm or leg, as well as developing thick hard skin or experiencing restricted range of motion in leg or arm. Infections may also appear in affected area.
3) Cancer increases risk for lymphedema for a va riety of reasons. Cancer cells may block lymphatic vessels or obstruct lymph fluid flow. Chemotherapy is also known to cause inflammation and scarring that restricts lymph fluid flow.
4) It is suggested that breast cancer patients wear a low compression sleeve and gauntlet that is prescribed and properly fitted when flying in aircraft. Cancer surgery and cabin pressure due to flying have been linked to the onset of secondary lymphedema.
5) When lymphedema causes a severe case of thickening of the skin, and swelling that is so bad it causes deformity, it is called elephantiasis.
6) When left untreated or allowed to become very severe, lymphedema can cause cancer. This cancer is called Lymphangiosarcoma and is quite rare. This form of cancer begins in the the lymph vessels and lymph nodes, making it a soft tissue cancer.
7) There is no cure for lymphedema. Treatments include pneumatic compression, compression garments, wrapping bandages, exercises, and massage. Extreme cases may require surgery to remove tissue due to excessive swelling, but even surgery does not cure lymphedema.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page
Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials