Thursday, October 14, 2010


It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Are you aware of Social Security’s COMPASSIONATE ALLOWENCES INITIATIVE?

There are few times in life when someone fighting advanced or recurrent breast cancer can get a break in life, but Early Social Security Compensation Eligibility may give patients that much needed breather.

As a mentor and recurrence breast cancer survivor who fought this disease for ten years, I believe that there is never a good time to be ill. This is especially true during times of financial and economic strife when the burden of medical bills can be overwhelming.

Add job insecurity or loss to the equation and you may be left with many questions and few answers about how to survive the financial burdens of illness. Fortunately, with the help of the many cancer groups with whom I associate, I may have found an answer to one of those questions—Early Social Security Compensation Eligibility.

I know this is now available to specific cancer patients. Are you one of them?

A woman whom I mentor called me to tell me she had applied over the phone for Early Social Security Compensation Eligibility. She used the information I had given her and that is now available in this article. A few weeks later when she checked her savings account, money from Social Security had been directly wired to the account. Many of her troubles were over.

“I don’t have to worry about my bills or returning to work when I am still too weak and unable to do my job. I can’t believe how easy this was,” she said. I was thrilled for her. Anything easy while dealing with breast cancer is a blessing.

According to the Social Security Administration, Social Security has implemented a Compassionate Allowances initiative to expedite the process of disabilities claims for medical conditions so severe enough to meet Social Security standards.

About half of the initial list of covered conditions are cancers: acute leukemia, CML (blast phase), stage 3 or 4 astrocytoma, pediatric brain, esophageal, gallbladder, gleoblastoma multiforme, breast, inflammatory breast, liver, mantle cell lymphoma, pancreatic, mesotheloma, salivary, and small cell (of the lung, colon, ovary, prostate, uterus) cancers. Also included are metastic, inoperable or recurrent cases of breast, adrenal, bladder, bone, head and neck, kidney, colon, nonsmall cell lung, ovarian, small intestine, stomach and ureter cancer.

Compassion Allowances is the second piece of the agency’s two-track, fast-track system for certain disability claims. Once Compassionate Allowances and the agency’s Quick Disability Determination process are combined and fully implemented cases for as many as 250, 000 people will be decided in an average of six to eight days.

During my battle with cancer, my husband quit work, stayed at home to care for me and we lived off of our savings while I went through treatment. Although the Compasionate Allowences Initiative Act was unavailable for me at that time, fortunately, it is now available to you.

If you are suffering from advanced or other cancers listed above, check to see if you are eligible for Early Social Security Compensation. This is not a hand-out. You earned it.

To read more about what is going on with Compassionate Allowances go to and the Press Releases at or
Mark Lassiter, Press Officer 410-965-8904

About the Author- Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos has penned SURVIVING CANCERLAND She is a phone counselor for the R.A. BLOCH Cancer Foundation, a mentor for WE CAN, a women’s self help group on Cape Cod, a contributor to Cape Women On Line Magazine, Twitter’s ezine c4women and a volunteer for many cancer organizations and online cancer groups. She is currently working on her second book, SURVIVING RECURRENCE. You can follower her @ website, @, @

6 Things I Learned At The Frankfurt Book Fair

When I landed in Frankfurt, Germany, my birthplace as an Army-brat, the same dreary weather greeted me that I had left in Boston, MA. However, when I walked though the doors to the Frankfurt Book Fair,aka FBF, the overall feeling was “contagious excitement.” 7,539 exhibitors from 111 countries with 3,000 events and 100 publishing companies were busy assembling their booths. I compared it to the 2010 New York Book Exp America, (aka BEA) I had attended in June. According to the BEA website, it had hosted 21,919 people in attendance and over 29,000 industry professionals. The Frankfurt Book Fair looked ten times larger.

The Frankfurt Book Fair is described as the biggest book and media fair in the world. It consisted of multiple interconnected building filled with languages, flags, multilingual advertisements and the hustle and bustle of fast deals. Its enormity stole my breath.

I quickly discovered that most books published by conventional publishing houses had their own International Rights Agents working the deals. However, I was attending with my self-published husband who was looking to delve into the international market. Could this hurt his chances of getting published by a US company? I emailed my agent at the Scovil, Galen and Ghosh Literary Agency in New York, which has an International Rights Agent. He emailed me back with some interesting insights.

In general, selling the foreign rights to the book would not harm the possibility of selling it to a US publisher. In fact if it were to generate significant sales in one or more countries abroad it would enhance the possibilities of being acquired by a publisher in the US.

However, there is one drawback. Some publishers like to protect their "investment" by acquiring world rights to a book (and thereby sharing significantly in any revenue generated abroad). If that possibility were removed, it likely would lessen a US publisher’s level of interest.

My husband had been in contact with his International Rights Agent from International Rights Inc. in Austin, Texas, months before the FBF. While they scurried from meeting to meeting, I took in the sights, sounds and information.
By the end of the third day, I had learned 6 important things about the Frankfurt Book Fair, especially for self-published books.

1) Get an International Agent before you go to the FBF. It will be almost impossible to find one there. Most agents in attendance already had clients and had done the groundwork required to ensure success.

2)It is very important to have your International Agent do research and set up meetings months in advance of the Fair. With such a high level of network taking place, serendipitous meetings are not likely to happen.

3 Go with a clear purpose in mind and a game plan on how to implement it. The scope and pace of the meetings leaves less time for “chit-chat networking.” Venders are too busy to speak to anyone without an appointment.

4)Don’t take or send books. No one wants to carry them. Planes limit baggage sizes and weights. Have everything available in PDF files, put presentations on DVDs, print websites, and other pertinent information on post card sized handouts to present with personal business cards.

5)When addressing venders, speak in your native language. Most of them spoke English and had a translator present.

6)Network, network, network, quickly and efficiently. This Fair is BEA on steroids.

One of the differences between the BEA and FBF was that the booths were less about selling books and more about selling international rights. People were much more compartmentalized and unaware of attending Agents or Acquisition Editors.

Although Book Expo America and Frankfurt Book Fair share similarities, FBF’s difference is best described as; bigger park, faster rides. So, wear walking shoes and have fun.