Exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to the development of mesothelioma which is a form of cancer. The most common form is pleural mesothelioma, which develops in the tissue surrounding the lungs. More than 2,000 people are diagnosed with this form of cancer each year.
It is possible to file a lawsuit against those responsible for your exposure to asbestos fibers. The possible modes of recovery include a settlement, winning the lawsuit, or, if the company has filed for bankruptcy, successfully making a trust fund claim. However, it is also possible that the development of mesothelioma will make an individual eligible for mesothelioma disability benefits.
Social Security Administration
The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes a Listing of Impairments to aid in the evaluation of claims for disability. Under §13.15, there are two forms of mesothelioma listed under the category of impairments for mesothelioma disability benefits. They include:
1. Malignant mesothelioma of the pleura; or
2. Tumors of the mediastinum with metastases spreading to or beyond the regional lymph nodes or recurrent following initial treatment.
If an individual has either of these forms of mesothelioma, he or she will be considered disabled. For these purposes, “disabled” means a person has an impairment that prevents them from working.
The SSA recognizes that in some circumstances, it is critically important for an individual to obtain benefits as quickly as possible. As a result, the SSA processes certain claims faster than others if the disease or condition is easily documented and very serious. There are two forms of mesothelioma that are considered compassionate allowance conditions: peritoneal and pleural. If a person has either of these forms of mesothelioma, their claim will be processed quickly, assuming all other eligibility requirements for mesothelioma disability benefits have been met.
Residual Functional Capacity
For individuals who have a condition that may allow them to work, the SSA determines a person’s residual functional capacity (RFC). A low RFC would indicate that there are very few, if any, jobs a person could perform, given that person’s condition. To determine RFC, the SSA considers:
1. the individual’s statements on the limitations caused by the condition;
2. the opinion of the individual’s doctor on the limitations caused by the condition; and
3. the individual’s medical records.
Using the RFC, a determination is made as to whether a person could perform a job that he or she has performed in the past. If this is possible, the disability claim will be denied. If a person cannot perform work that he or she did in the past, a determination will be made as to whether that person can perform other work, given the person’s RFC, age, education, and skills. If a person is deemed incapable of working, he or she will receive benefits known as a medical-vocational allowance.
If you have had to quit working as a result of mesothelioma, you may be faced with financial uncertainty. It is important to remember that there are several ways in which you can receive the compensation you need during this difficult period. At the Throneberry Law Group, we have the experience to help you explore all of your legal options. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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