If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and want to know if your illness will qualify you for disability benefits, here’s what you need to know.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has strict rules they must follow to approve or deny a claim based on an applicant’s medical condition(s). Not all medical conditions are automatically considered disabling. You may be able to get disability benefits from Social Security if you have a condition that meets the definition of “disability” under the law, but not all illnesses do.
When considering applying for Social Security Disability Insurance it’s a good idea to consult with a social security lawyer who can guide you through the legal process. In the meantime, let’s explore some eligibility criteria for Social Security Disability benefits for Americans diagnosed with cancer.
Social Security Disability Insurance is available to anyone regardless of income level or financial need. Eligibility for cancer will require convincing evidence to prove your cancer meets the criteria for the SSA’s particular cancer list, or your symptoms or treatment limit your ability to work and will do so for more than 12 months.
For cancers that are inoperable, unresectable, have recurred following treatment, or have metastasized to other areas, you may be eligible for disability benefits. The requirement for convincing evidence is exactly why it is best to work with a social security lawyer who has experience with these matters
It is considered “unresectable” if surgery removes your tumor but not entirely (or partially). This partial removal will allow you to receive disability benefits under the SSA’s impairment lists for most types of cancer. If your surgery margins are clear, you will be considered unresectable and eligible for benefits under many cancer lists.
Your cancer will be considered “recurrent” if your tumor grows back after surgery or if it is found in the same area as the original surgery. Recurrent cancer is automatically eligible for disability benefits under most cancer listings, as are most cancers if they are deemed inoperable. Additionally, specific side effects that occur after surgery may potentially qualify you for SSDI in a different category of eligibility.
If cancer has spread, applicants are usually eligible for automatic approval under the Cancer Listings, even though original cancer and the metastatic lesion may have been removed. However, the SSA might wait to see if metastasizes (secondary cancers) respond fully to chemo and radiation.
Metastatic lesions are generally diagnosed through biopsy. Therefore, the SSA will need the relevant biopsy report. Sometimes, however, metastatic lesions cannot be accessed for biopsy due to the patient being too ill or the location preventing the doctor from performing a biopsy. If a biopsy cannot be performed, the SSA must receive a copy of any x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or other tests that showed the metastatic lesion.
Some cancer patients find it impossible to work due to the side effects of cancer treatment. Radiation and chemotherapy can have a major impact on your ability to function normally, and treatments can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, as well as skin and mental disorders. Many side effects from radiation or chemotherapy are temporary and fluctuate throughout treatment and, therefore, will not meet the one-year eligibility requirement.
Many people who have survived cancer suffer from permanent side effects, and these side effects can often not be seen until months or even years after treatment. It’s much easier to receive Social Security Disability Benefits for long-term side effects from chemo and radiation than short-term ones.
There are many situations that can disqualify you for SSDI benefits even if you have been diagnosed with cancer. It is best to reach out to a social security lawyer as early as possible to ensure you have appropriate documentation and notes related to your cancer, treatment, and side effects. A social security lawyer specializes in assisting individuals as they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Reach out now for your free case evaluation from a qualified social security disability lawyer.
100% FREE and Confidential
Get the Benefits that you deserve!
100% Risk Free
Legal Campaign Disclaimer: FreeCaseEvaluations.com is not a law firm, nor a lawyer referral service nor is it a substitute for hiring an attorney or law firm and does not provide legal advice. FreeCaseEvaluations.com does not endorse or recommend any participating Third Party Legal Professionals that pay to participate in this advertising. An attorney-client relationship is not formed when calling the number on this site or filling out a form. Services are not available in all states or for all legal categories.