Mastocytosis is an uncommon neoplastic mast cell disorder. Mast cells are developed in the bone marrow. They travel through the blood to other areas of your body to perform several tasks.
Mastocytosis type IV is an acute form of this disease that is characterized by a cancerous proliferation of mast cells in the blood. Any of the four types of mastocytosis might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. However, type IV is the only kind currently approved for accelerated review and approval by the Social Security Administration under their Compassionate Allowance program (CAL).
Mastocytosis can attack anybody regardless of age, sex or race. It most commonly befalls people who are older than 55. There is usually a familial association, but no known genetic predisposition exists.
Mastocytosis may include any of the following symptoms.
- Skin flushing
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
- Skin lesions
- Fainting due to low blood pressure
- Pain in the bones
- Cognitive dysfunction
The disease can attack the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and the gastrointestinal tract. It can also affect bones and bone marrow.
Types I and II are less debilitating, but they are still dangerous. Type III can progress quickly and may develop into type IV. Usually, patients with type IV mastocytosis will also present with leukemia and other multi-organ problems.
Diagnosis is most typically based on observation of the many symptoms. However, blood tests must confirm that a minimum of 10 percent of your red blood cells have mast cells present. Usually, that level will be far higher. Typical and atypical mast cells will also be discovered in the bone marrow and other organ tissues. Skeletal X-rays, liver function tests, skin biopsies plus CT scans are commonly performed during diagnosis. Testing for plasma tryptase and urine mediators, such as histamine, is also routine.
Mastocytosis type IV is an incurable illness, which has no effective treatment. Occasionally, severe cases are treated with stem cell or bone marrow transplantation, immunotherapy and chemotherapy. Treatment is mainly centered on keeping the patient comfortable. Death frequently occurs within months of diagnosis. The Social Security Administration acknowledges this fact and has therefore approved mastocytosis type IV for CAL.
Getting SSDI for Systemic Mastocytosis
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can take a long time. First, you must submit your application, which can take up to four months before being reviewed. Generally, 70 percent of those who apply for SSDI have their claims denied the first time. If you are denied benefits, you have to go through another review and possibly an appeal. The entire application process can stretch out over a year. Sometimes, it can take two years.
In 2008, the Social Security Administration began their CAL plan. It was designed specifically for those who have serious disabilities or fatal diseases and cannot wait for their disability benefits. CAL expedites the approval process for those patients who are obviously disabled or facing death. Mastocytosis type IV is one of 113 conditions on the CAL program list. While the SSA’s CAL plan shortens the application process, you must prove your case with as much supporting evidence as possible, including written statements from your physicians and test results. A thorough application will shorten the wait for benefits and can prevent the need for second reviews and appeals.
Getting Help from an Attorney
Hiring an attorney with experience in the SSDI application process will improve your chances of meeting the eligibility requirements. A disability attorney can guide you through each stage of the process. There is no fee for the case until you have been approved for SSDI.