A mesothelioma diagnosis marks a turning point. Everything must change. The focus turns to fighting the disease and preserving a quality of life. For many, this is the time they first investigate obtaining Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Mesothelioma and other pleural cancers derive from occupational-related asbestos exposure. Workers’ compensation is often one of the first places mesothelioma victims turn to obtain compensation. But obtaining these benefits is often difficult.
Mesothelioma and other pleural diseases associated with occupational asbestos-exposure often takes years to develop. Once diagnosed, individuals are often left scrambling for help; the average life expectancy for individuals with mesothelioma is twelve months.
Terminal illnesses are often debilitating, forcing dying individuals to drop out of the workforce to fight their disease in hopes of maximizing whatever time is left. Often, these individuals will pursue a Social Security Disability claim in hopes of minimizing the impact of the lost wage.
The SPIKES protocol is becoming a standard for medical professionals such as doctors and nurse practitioners who have to deliver bad news, such as a terminal diagnosis of cancer, to patients.
Advising a client with a terminal illness requires careful attention to detail. Assets must be managed carefully to ensure the client has enough funds to provide for them while alive, while minimizing potential estate tax liability when they pass.
Estate planning is often new territory for individuals diagnosed with a terminal illness. According to Caring.com, only 42 percent of Americans have a will. For clients diagnosed with mesothelioma or some other form of cancer, this may be the first time they have thought about meeting with an estate planner.
Estate planners play a critical role for clients facing terminal illnesses. Helping a terminally ill client get their financial affairs in order early in the process enables them to have the peace of mind needed to spend the time they have left in a meaningful way.
Giving bad news is never easy. Telling someone that they are terminally ill is exceptionally challenging. A study in the Journal of Oncology Practice revealed that delivering end of life news to patients is one of the most stressful parts of their jobs as oncologists. Remarkably, training in how to effectively communicate with patients and protocols as to what to cover is largely absent.