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Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Among 25 Conditions Now Covered By Social Security

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A life-saving decision made by the Social Security Administration was announced Monday in Baltimore.

Mary Bubala reports low-income men suffering from late stage prostate cancer will find the path to treatment is no longer full of obstacles.

It's a disease that affects one out of every six men in their lifetime.

Now, stage four prostate cancer is among 25 new conditions the SSA has added to its compassionate allowances.

"This was an extremely important decision considering that 238,000 people men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year and considering, sadly, 29,700 plus may die. We are so pleased that this announcement was made," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland.

Cummings says many of his constituents have waited up to two years for a decision on disability benefits while they suffered through the pain of prostate cancer.

"The process was so grueling that it delayed access to treatment, a death sentence for many of the individuals fighting this disease," Cummings said.

But now, with this change, decisions on disability benefits will be made within days instead of months or years.

"The average processing time for a compassionate allowance claim for last year was 15 days as compared to 86.2 days or more through the normal process," said Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of Social Security.

"Men are able to live a lot longer with metastatic disease, and they are able to live a healthier life, so with these benefits these men and their families can live a much better life together," said Dr. Sandy Siegel, Chesapeake Urology.

Compassionate allowances were launched in 2008 and have quickly approved benefits for more than 200,000 low-income Americans suffering from rare conditions and cancer.

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