Multiple Myeloma and Your Social Security Disability Benefits

Definition of Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects plasma cells. Plasma cells are mostly found in bone marrow, which is the soft tissue inside bones. When cancer affects plasma cells, they multiply and create a tumor known as a plasmacytoma. When an individual has multiple plasmacytoma’s they are diagnosed with multiple myeloma.

Signs and symptoms

  • Low blood counts – low blood counts might cause anemia, which is a deficit of red blood cells. Anemia causes increased bleeding and easy bruising. People with anemia are easily fatigued and feel weak.
  • Kidney failure – kidney failure might occur when myeloma cells create antibodies that attack the organ. Symptoms of kidney failure include body fatigue, shortness of breath, swollen legs and nausea.

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  • Frail bones – there are two different types of cells that keep bones strong; one that builds the bones, another that breaks them down. If you have myeloma, the cells that break down the bones start working faster than the cells that build bone up, so your bones break easily. If myeloma affects spinal bones, it can cause spinal cord compression, which leads to severe back pain, numb legs and overall muscle fatigue. Symptoms of frail bones might include an increase in calcium in the blood (bones release calcium when they break down) which could cause nausea, loss of appetite, and unquenchable thirst.
  • Infections – the cancerous myeloma cells multiply and crowd out normal plasma cells. The antibodies that myeloma plasma cells creates do not fight infections because they multiply into the same (non-working) cells.

Multiple Myeloma and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration impairment listing qualifies multiple myeloma patients to receive benefits if the myeloma still continues to infect the body even after treatment or if, within the last year, you have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.

You must provide objective medical evidence of your disease.

If your diagnosed myeloma does not meet the above standards, don’t dismiss your claim. If you feel that you cannot work your job (need constant breaks, can’t lift heavy objects, etc.) because of your disease, the SSA will consider your application.

Sometimes it is easy to miss things in your application, and a locally-based Utah disability lawyer can help. Contact us today for a no-obligation free consultation: (801) 890-1030.


Photo Credit: SharonaGott via Creative Commons