Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. When lymphoma doesn’t go into remission or recurs quickly, it can sometimes qualify as a disability. People who’ve received bone marrow transplants as treatments might also be able to qualify for disability benefits.

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Lymphoma is cancer that affects your lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, and thymus gland. It damages your body’s ability to make white blood cells and leads to symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and unintentional weight loss.

Sometimes, lymphoma can meet the requirements to qualify as a disability with the Social Security Administration and other organizations. When it does, you can receive benefits and services to help you during treatment and recovery.

Some people with lymphoma might be able to claim disability benefits. It depends on the type of lymphoma you have and the severity of your symptoms. For instance, people with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) can qualify for compassionate allowance with the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). This means you can skip many steps typically associated with applying for benefits.

If you have a different type of lymphoma, qualifying will depend on your treatment and how your symptoms affect your life. The SSA grants disability to people with lymphoma that it believes keeps them from working. This includes people with lymphoma who meet qualifications such as:

  • failure to achieve remission
  • a reoccurrence within 1 year
  • chemotherapy for recurrent lymphoma
  • stem cell transplant treatment

The exact definition of disability depends on the organization you are seeking aid or benefits from. For instance, the SSA defines a disability as a condition that prevents you from working and that is expected to either be fatal or last for at least a year.

Other organizations, such as those on the state level, have their definitions and requirements. Lymphoma might meet these requirements when it affects your daily life and ability to work and perform self-care tasks.

You can get help filing for disability in a few ways. If you’re looking into filing for SSA disability benefits, representatives at your local Social Security office can help. Depending on your location, making an appointment online or by phone before you go will be beneficial. Representatives can answer your questions and walk you through the disability application.

If you’re being treated for lymphoma at a cancer specialty center or similar facility, there might be a social services department or patient services center.

Other professionals who work in these areas can often help with tasks like filing for disability. These professionals include:

  • social workers
  • caseworkers
  • patient navigators
  • financial counselors
  • patient care advocates

Ask your doctor or healthcare professional about services and professionals at your specific facility who may be able to help.

The symptoms of lymphoma can vary depending on the type but commonly include:

The exact treatment for lymphoma depends on the type, stage at diagnosis, and symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapyis used to kill cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation is another method of killing cancer cells. It can be used with chemotherapy or on its own.
  • Stem cell transplants: A stem cell transplant replaces cancerous bone marrow cells with healthy stem cells to develop new bone marrow. You can read more about this treatment.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy helps your body find and attack cancer cells.

The outlook depends on the type of lymphoma you have and personal factors such as the diagnosis stage, age, overall health, and how well you respond to treatment.

The overall 5-year survival rate for all types of NHL is 74%. The relative five-year survival rate for Hodgkin’s lymphoma is 89%. These numbers are based on data compiled between 2012 and 2018. In the past several years, cancer treatments have improved. This means it’s likely that current survival rates are actually higher than these percentages indicate.

You can learn more about lymphoma and disability by reading the answers to some common questions.

Is cancer always a disability?

No. There are legal definitions that conditions, including cancer, need to meet before they can be considered disabilities.

Can all forms of lymphoma qualify for lymphoma?

Any form of lymphoma can qualify for disability if it meets SSA requirements.

Can someone fill out a disability application on my behalf?

Yes. You can have a friend, family member, social worker, or other trusted person fill out your application. However, you will need to sign the application and verify that the information is true and correct.

Lymphoma is a cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. Lymphoma can qualify as a disability for the SSA and other organizations if it meets specific criteria. Lymphoma commonly qualifies as a disability if it reoccurs after treatment or while you’re recovering from a stem cell treatment.

You can get help filling out an application at a local Social Security office. Benefits can help you pay your bills during treatment and recovery.