How to Get Social Security Disability After a Bone Marrow Transplant

Ever since you were diagnosed with leukemia, you’ve waited for this day to come. You’ve undergone your initial treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and now you’re finally going to receive a bone marrow transplant that could save your life. You’ve been told that it will be painful, and that you’ll be weak after surgery, but you’re more concerned about how you’re going to pay for everything when you’re finally released from the hospital.

Getting Social Security for a Bone Marrow Transplant May Depend on Your Condition

Surgery patients should not have to worry about paying their bills. This is why the Social Security Administration (SSA) will grant disability benefits to patients who have recently undergone bone marrow transplantation. However, the length of time that you may receive benefits will depend on the details of your medical condition. For example, patients with the following will likely be approved:

  • Acute conditions. If you received bone marrow to treat leukemia, T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, or accelerated or blast phase of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), you could receive benefits for 12 months after transplantation or up to 24 months from the date of your diagnosis, whichever is later.
  • Chronic conditions. If you underwent bone marrow transplantation for lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or a chronic phase of CML, the SSA will consider you to be disabled for at least 12 months from the date of your surgery.
  • Other malignancies. If you have another type of malignant neoplastic disease that has been treated with bone marrow transplantation, the SSA will base the length of your benefit payments on whether you have undergone autologous or allogeneic transplantation. For autologous transplantation (transplantation of your own cells or from your identical twin), you will be considered disabled until at least 12 months from the date of the initial therapy given to prepare you for transplantation. For allogeneic transplantation (transplantation from an unrelated donor or relative other than an identical twin), the SSA will consider you disabled for at least 12 months from the date of transplantation.

As with most transplant surgeries, there are a number of complications that can extend your healing time or make your condition worse. That is why the SSA will continue to evaluate your disability after your initial benefit period has expired to see if you continue to qualify for payments. If you experience complications such as graft-versus-host (GVH) disease, frequent infections, or related problems with other organ systems, you should notify the SSA of these developments as soon as possible so that there is no interruption in your benefits.

Do you want to make sure you get as much as help as you can during your surgical recovery? Click the link on this page to find out how we can assist you, or read through a copy of our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska