Requirements For Agent Orange Presumptive Diseases
When sound medical and scientific evidence shows that an illness is caused by Agent Orange exposure, we add it to our list of presumptive diseases. If youve been diagnosed with one of these illnesses, you dont need to prove that it started duringor got worse because ofyour military service.
If you have an illness thats not on our list of presumptive diseases, but you believe it was caused by Agent Orange exposure, you can still file a claim for VA disability benefits. But youll need to submit more evidence. Keep reading to learn about service requirements and supporting evidence.
Agent Orange And Prostate Cancer Veterans Disability Benefits
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and developed prostate cancer may be eligible to receive VA disability benefits. Some veterans receive over $2,900 a month. Some veterans will also be eligible for VA Aid & Attendance benefits, money for dependent children and parents, and healthcare.
Prostate cancer is one of the Agent Orange presumptives. That means that the VA should approve claims of veterans exposed to Agent Orange who develop prostate cancer. However, you should still present lots of evidence and prove your claim to the VA. Unfortunately, even though prostate cancer is presumed to have come from Agent Orange exposure, the VA does not grant every claim.
If you were denied prostate cancer veterans disability benefits, you should consider filing a VA benefits appeal. The VA regularly denies veterans who later win their appeals. Do not let a prostate cancer veterans disability benefits denial discourage you.
When Your Cancer Has Spread
If your cancer has spread to parts of your body that are far removed from where it originated, this is called “distant metastases.” The SSA’s cancer listings refer to this complication as “metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes.” For instance, lung cancer often metastasizes to the liver.
When cancer has spread, the applicant usually qualifies for automatic approval under the cancer listings, even if the original cancer and the metastic lesion have been removed. However, if the metastases are expected to respond fully to chemo or radiation, the SSA may wait to see the outcome.
To qualify for benefits because of metastatic cancer, you must provide the SSA with the appropriate medical documentation that supports your claim. Generally, metastatic lesions are diagnosed by biopsy therefore, you would need to provide the SSA with the appropriate biopsy report. However, there are times when a metastic lesion cannot be accessed for a biopsy because the patient is too ill to undergo surgery or because the location prevents the doctor from performing a biopsy .
In cases where a biopsy is unattainable, you must provide the SSA with a copy of the x-ray, MRI or CT scan, or other test that was performed that revealed the metastatic lesion. However, even if your doctor provides a statement to the SSA that the lesion visualized on the imaging study is cancerous, the SSA will not accept his or her opinion unless the lesion is medically treated as cancer .
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What Records Do You Need And Do You Have Them
Your disability application must contain specific medical records before SSA approval is granted. These records include test results, documenting the diagnosis of your prostate cancer, like digital rectal exam notes and prostate-specific antigen results.
Treatment records, including surgical reports and anti-cancer regimens, are important as well and explain how you responded to treatment, including any residual impairments youve developed that affect your ability to work.
The SSA uses standard disability listings to evaluate eligibility. For automatic qualification, your medical records must show youre a match to the prostate cancer listing. When your records dont match this listing precisely, the SSA will conduct other reviews, including looking at your residual functional capacity . If you must be approved via an RFC, then the residual effects of your cancer and cancer treatments must be well documented within your medical history.
Faq: Prostate Cancer Veterans Disability Benefits
What if the VA lost my service records? Many Vietnam veterans have found the VA lost their service records. The problem with that is you are going to have to prove you came in contact with Agent Orange. Some veterans arent even able to prove where they served. Those veterans should consider filing VA disability buddy statements with their applications and appeals.
The VA denied my claim. What next? If you had your VA disability denied you can appeal for up to one year from the date the decision was made. If you have let your appeal period collapse, you can start a new claim by submitting a new initial application.
What if my cancer has worsened since my last Rating Decision? If you are already receiving prostate cancer veterans disability benefits, but your conditions have worsened, there may be help available. Veterans with worsened impairments can try increasing veterans disability benefits ratings.
Does it matter if I received sub par care at the VA? Some veterans will find they are eligible for veterans benefits section 1151 claims. They are veterans disability benefits for veterans who have disabilities from Veterans Affairs medical malpractice. Many veterans with prostate cancer are treating at the VA and experience a medical malpractice event.
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What To Do If You Receive A Denial Or Unacceptable Rating Decision From The Va
If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability and you feel that the VA has made an unfair determination regarding your disability benefis, we urge you to contact us right away. With decades of combined experience appealing unfair Regional Office and Board of Veteran’s Appeals’ decisions, we are confident we can win you the benefits you deserve. When you are ready, send us a note or give us a call at -629-1712.
Prostate Cancer Common Among Veterans
Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer for male veterans after skin cancer. There are over 200,000 prostate cancer cases in the United States every year. African-American veterans are at an even greater risk for developing prostate cancer than the average population. About one-in-six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
The good news is that nearly 100% of men diagnosed with early stage prostate cancer are still alive nearly five years after diagnosis. Prostate cancer grows very slowly, often causing no symptoms until its in an advanced stage. Most veterans with prostate cancer die of other causes and many veterans with prostate cancer never know they had it.
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Social Security Will Want To See Medical Evidence Proving The Severity Of Your Prostate Cancer And Its Impact On Your Ability To Work In Addition To A Complete Medical History You Should Be Prepared To Provide:
- Statements and exam reports from your doctors and specialists.
- Results of bloodwork and laboratory test results, such as PSA levels.
- Results of imaging tests such as x-rays, bone scans, CT scans, MRIs or PET scans.
- Results of surgical procedures, including biopsies and needle aspirations.
- Hospitalization reports.
- Evidence of recurrence and progression of cancer.
I Have Prostate Cancer Should I Apply For Benefits
If you cant work because of prostate cancer and and your doctors don’t think you’ll get better within a year, you should probably apply for benefits. Its free and the help can be life-changing. But applying does take time and effort, and not everyone qualifies so its only worthwhile if you have a chance of success. Heres our advice:
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What Documents Are Necessary For Ssdi
The SSA uses a strict set of guidelines to determine who qualifies and who doesnt. Theyll be looking to see if:
- The patient has debilitating long-term side effects
- Whether cancer has spread and is not expected to respond to treatment
- If surgery or treatment is not successful
- Whether you are disabled as a result of your diagnosis
- If cancer comes back
In order to meet these guidelines, patients must provide documentation as evidence. This might include pathology reports, operative notes, hospitalization summaries, and other documents. The evidence should specify the type of cancer, the extent of its involvement, the site of primary cancer, and any recurrent or metastatic information. A more in-depth explanation of what theyre looking for is available on the SSA website.
If Your Prostate Cancer Does Not Meet The Requirements Of Social Securitys Impairment Listing But You Are Still Unable To Work Full
Social Security will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity assessment to evaluate what work-related tasks you are still capable of performing. Social Security will consider how long you can walk, stand, or sit and how much weight you can lift, as well as what accommodations you might need, like frequent restroom breaks. Prostate cancer patients need to urinate frequently and often have pain and stiffness in their hips and back. If Social Security finds that, given your RFC limitations, age, education level, and job skills, there are no jobs you can do, you can be granted disability benefits via a medical-vocational allowance.
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What Military Records Will I Need To Submit
Youll need to submit your discharge or separation papers that show your time and location of service. These may include your DD214 or other separation documents.
For certain claims, you may also need more supporting documents.
Submit documents that show you had regular perimeter security duty. These may include your:
- Daily work logs
- Performance evaluation reports
- Job records
Submit one or more of these forms:
- USAF Form 2096
- USAF Form 5
- USAF Form 781
To learn more, download our:
Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Prostate Cancer
Disability insurance companies dont always make it easy for policyholders who have prostate cancer to get the disability benefits they deserve.
1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer more than 220,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. It is typically slow growing and, unfortunately, in the early stages, there are no symptoms. That is why annual prostate cancer screening is crucial.
Cancer can be aggressive when it spreads and reach the bones, lymph nodes, lungs and other tissue.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain in the genital and pelvic area,
- Blood in the urine or semen,
- Frequent urinary tract infections,
- Pain in the lower back or pelvic area,
- Anemia, and
The symptoms and progression vary from person to person, which disability carriers often fail to take consideration. These symptoms are similar to prostatitis, erectile dysfunction or an overactive bladder.
Disability carriers are notorious for denying and terminating many claims.
Carriers frequently say:
Many disability claims are denied. Other reasons carriers deny claims:
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Vietnam Veterans & Prostate Cancer
Veterans who served in Vietnam are now reaching their mid-60s, which is the age at which prostate cancer is usually diagnosed. This means that we are seeing an influx of prostate cancer cases.
Roughly eight nine million men in the US served during the Vietnam War with approximately 2.7 million Americans serving in Vietnam. And according to recent studies, almost 1.4 million men are predicted to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. A 2013 study conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University found that Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are not only at higher risk for prostate cancer, but they also have an increased risk for more aggressive forms of the disease.
Agent Orange, as we have discussed in previous Agent Orange blog posts, has been found to cause many serious health problems. The VA has found sufficient evidence of an association with certain conditions so they have recognized fourteen different diseases and type of cancer as being related to Agent Orange exposure. These conditions are considered presumptive diseases, meaning that the VA will grant service-connection for these conditions as long as the veteran was in Vietnam. Some other diseases on this list include non-Hodgkins lymphoma , soft tissue sarcoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, multiple myeloma, and ischemic heart disease.
Agent Orange Exposure And Prostate Cancer
Agent Orange is one of several herbicides, or rainbow herbicides, that were used during the Vietnam War era. Specifically, Agent Orange was a mixture of two different kinds of highly toxic chemicals: 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T. The highly toxic dioxin contaminant known as 2, 3, 7, 8-TCDD is a byproduct produced by Agent Orange. Many veterans came into contact with Agent Orange, including those who served in areas other than Vietnam.
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and developed prostate cancer are entitled to presumptive service connection, so long as they are able to prove they served in qualifying locations and time periods. Specifically, these veterans do not have to prove a connection between their prostate cancer and military service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation
In regard to Agent Orange exposure, VA has established a presumption of exposure for the following locations and time periods:
- Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 this only includes veterans who were boots-on-the-ground in Vietnam, or veterans with service aboard a ship that operated in the inland waterways of Vietnam, made visits ashore, and Blue Water Navy veterans.
- In or near the Korean demilitarized zone between September 1, 1967 and August 31, 1971.
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Qualifying With Prostate Cancer Through Medical
In some cases, your diagnosis will not meet the criteria to receive disability benefits in the Blue Book, but that doesnt mean that you are out of options. In that case, a medical-vocational allowance might be the right choice for you.
The medical-vocational allowance is used when an applicants diagnosis does not fit the disability guidelines but the applicant is unable to perform the demands of the job. To make this determination, the SSA will evaluate your age, work history and experience, your education and your residual function capacity . The RFC is the maximum amount of work you are able to perform given your condition, taking into consideration the demands of your job and the ability to perform modified tasks.
The SSA will use the medical-vocational guidelines to evaluate the exertional and nonexertional demands of your job to determine if an adjustment can be made to accommodate the maximum amount of work you are capable of performing, either in your current position or in general.
If the SSA determines that you could perform a similar task with some adjustments, then you will not qualify for the medical-vocational allowance. However, if no accommodations can be made, then you could qualify for disability benefits because at that point you would no longer be able to keep up with the demands of your job or work in a similar field.
Making A Disability Insurance Claim With Cancer
A cancer diagnosis doesnât guarantee that you can receive disability benefits from a short-term disability insurance plan, a long-term disability insurance plan or Social Security disability insurance. In order to make a successful disability claim and claim benefits, a diagnosis has to lead to a disability that keeps you from working.
To make a claim, youâll have to get a statement from your doctor that explains your health status and that youâre disabled and unable to work. That info has to meet the requirements of your policyâs definition of disability. Some insurers may also require a statement from your employer.
If you have an own-occupation disability policy, you must be unable to work at your regular occupation or most recent occupation.
If you have an any-occupation disability policy, you must be unable to work at any occupation this is a lot harder to prove.
A residual benefits policy means that you can receive partial benefits if your doctor says you can work, but only part-time.
Read more about how to file a disability claim.
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Cancers That Are Aggressive Inoperable Or Unresectable That Have Recurred After Treatment Or That Have Metastasized Are Eligible For Disability Benefits
By Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author
Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits for cancer can be straightforward for some aggressive cancers , but for others, you’ll need to provide the Social Security Administration with convincing evidence to show either that 1) your cancer fulfills the qualifications for the SSA’s disability listing for that particular cancer or 2) the symptoms or treatment for your cancer limit you so much that you can’t work.
Cancers that were inoperable or unresectable with surgery, that have recurred after treatment, or that metastasized to other places are eligible for disability benefits. Here are some explanations of the ins and outs of getting disability for various types and stages of cancer.
Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits With Prostate Cancer
The Journal of The National Cancer Institute reports there are nearly 2 million men living in the America today who are prostate cancer survivors, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation reports more than 220,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the U.S.
While prostate cancer is among the leading causes of cancer-related death for American men as well, it is also among the most treatable and curable forms of cancer, which is why it may or may not qualify you for disability benefits.
If your prostate cancer was advanced when diagnosed or has recurred after initial treatment, then you automatically medically qualify Social Security Disability. If it is not advanced, you will need to meet Blue Book listing 13.24 to qualify. Either way, you will need to apply and provide medical records to back up your claim though.
If your prostate cancer is caught early and responds to treatment, then you wont qualify for benefits through the typical review process. Instead, youll have to show that your cancer symptoms, treatments, and complications severely disrupt your ability to function on a daily basis.
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