Social Security for Cancer Patients
Cancer is a fatal disease, and the world accepts this fact. There are many types of cancer, and each one of them troubles the patients differently. Different kinds of cancer can make the patient’s life difficult beyond imagination. Social Security Administration does consider cancer patients and issues benefits for cancer patients if they fall under specific criteria listed by them.
Qualifying for Social Security disability can be the most straightforward process for people suffering from aggressive cancer types. When we say aggressive cancers, it means pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, thyroid, mesothelioma, and esophageal cancers. If a person is suffering from any of the above cancer, SSA will quickly approve Disability for Cancer Patients.
But for other types of cancer, SSA follows a differing approval pattern. You should show convincing evidence to support your disability to earn a living, or if it fulfils the SSA’s disability lists for that particular type of cancer.
Before diving deep into cancer-related social security benefits, let’s understand what cancer is all about.
What is Cancer?
Cancer is a disease that can initially have no notable symptoms, and many people with controlled forms of cancer can receive treatment without a significant disturbance in their daily routine. However, more advanced stages significantly impair the ability of a sufferer to complete routine tasks. Treatment options for cancer that is advanced and has spread are known to cause serious side effects that could render a person unable to work. When this occurs, it may be time for an individual to research whether they qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Cancer is a term that is used for any situation in which the cells in the body uncontrollably divide. These abnormally dividing cells attack tissues in the body, and it can spread to other parts of the body. The cells can form in parts of the body, including:
- Spinal Cord
- Immune System
Symptoms vary according to type, severity, and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Common symptoms include weight loss that cannot be explained by diet, chronic fatigue, persistent fever, and pain. One can also observe bleeding, swelling, or sores in the area that is affected by cancer cells, and some cases of cancer involve internal bleeding. Cancer that is treated by radiation therapy can cause serious side effects. Side effects of treatment include fatigue, pain, hair loss, anemia, and increased susceptibility to infection.
It is estimated that 40 percent of all people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.
Is Cancer A Disability?
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, this question must be disturbing your mind. Cancer is a fatal disease and can trouble anyone. But, when it comes to getting social security disability benefits for cancer, not all cancer patients can qualify for these benefits.
The SSA (Social Security Administration) has specified different eligibility criteria for each cancer type in the Blue Book. Some cancer patients can easily qualify, while some have to show many documents to prove their disability.
The papers can include biopsy reports, medication details, or notes by a certified physician, which states that the type of cancer you suffer from has caused disability. Or it can cause impairment in further stages. So, the type and stage of cancer matter a lot.
SSA’s medical guide is open to all, and you can see the list of cancer types online. Here are some types of cancer that may qualify you for SSD benefits;
- Brain cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Any small cell cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Salivary tumors
- Sinonasal cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Liver cancer
It is not like; if you are not suffering from any of the above cancer, then you will not get any benefits. Other types of cancers will need a piece of additional evidence to prove the disability.
Medical evidence is a must. An oncologist will support you in such cases. If you feel hassled, contact a reliable social security attorney in your area.
Some cancers are historically hard to treat and tend to become aggressive in later stages. If you have been diagnosed with any such cancers, you will be automatically qualified for social security disability benefits.
Can You Get Social Security Disability Benefits for Cancer?
Yes, of course, you can get cancer social security benefits. It is estimated that 40 percent of all people will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. A fatal disease like cancer makes you eligible for benefits, but not all cancer patients will get it. SSA has a précised list of rules about who are eligible for cancer disability benefits. Cancer is different than other conditions that may qualify an individual for SSDI benefits because there are generally relaxed requirements for people who have it. There are three ways for a person to be eligible for SSDI benefits.
- Compassionate Allowances-
People who are suffering from cancer that has metastasized or is considered to be inoperable are often qualified for SSDI benefits through a Social Security Administration (SSA) program known as Compassionate Allowances. This program allows people to be eligible for benefits without requiring much medical proof related to the condition. As long as a person can prove that their cancer is at an advanced stage, they will not have to prove that the symptoms or side effects of treatment make it impossible for them to work.
- Disability Listing-
Disability listings established by the SSA include certain types of cancer. If a person has one of these types, they will be able to qualify for SSDI benefits if they meet the requirements as outlined in the SSA listing.
- Residual Functional Capacity-
If a person has recently been diagnosed in the early stages, it may be challenging to qualify for SSDI benefits. In this instance, the person’s ability to perform work tasks will be evaluated by a representative of the SSA.
When Can You Get Disability for Cancer?
The word ‘cancer’ is enough to scare any person. The number of cancer patients is increasing rapidly throughout the world. When doctors are not able to treat your cancer after multiple efforts, then you can get disability benefits. Apart from this, many other factors that make you eligible for disability benefits. Here are some more details about when SSA can approve your disability request-
- When cancer has spread to multiple body parts- This condition is also termed as “distant metastases.” In this condition, the cancerous cells tend to cover until very distant body parts from where it originated. As per the cancer listing for SSA, you may get eligible for benefits in such circumstances
- When your cancer treatment or surgery is not successful- When surgery for tumor removal remains unsuccessful, the cancer is termed as unresectable. If you are facing a similar situation, then the Social Security Administration will qualify you for disability benefits.
- Cancer treatment side effects hinder you from working- Cancer treatment is a combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, medications, stem cell transplantation, etc. These procedures sometimes show severe side effects. Many patients become unable to work or perform daily core functions as a result. Hence, if a person is suffering badly from cancer treatment side effects, SSA can approve their disability claim.
These side effects last longer than expectations like months and even years. Long-term side effects of cancer treatment include-
- Heart, liver and lung problems
- Bone weakness
- reproductive disorders
- eye problems
- intestinal problems
- cognitive dysfunction, etc.
If you are suffering from any of the above conditions due to your cancer treatment, then the Social Security Office will evaluate the impairment.
- You become disabled due to cancer – If you have become disabled due to cancer treatment and are not able to earn or perform necessary daily functionalities, SSA will consider your disability claim. But you should have proper proof to show your disability due to cancer. The following are some factors for which SSA will be concerned before issuing your benefits;
- When the doctor first noticed your symptoms
- Which type of cancer and stage you are suffering
- cancer origin
- To which extent, cancer has spread
Applying for Social Security Disability Cancer
Do you know, the American Cancer Society has revealed more than 200 types of cancer, and almost 1.7 million new cancer cases are coming up every year. Isn’t this an eye-opening fact? Many types of cancer that are non-malignant. This type of cancer never spreads, is non-invasive, easy to treat, and does not require any kind of supervision.
While some forms of cancer are malignant. It spreads aggressively, requires immediate attention, and requires aggressive cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery, etc.
Experts have said that any cancer, with any grade, and stage can cause disability to the patient at any point in time. Even non-malignant tumors can cause trouble. Treatment procedures cause adverse physical and psychological effects. Some people may recover soon, but some may stay away from work for months or even years, sometimes this wait to work may last a lifetime. Depending on the situation, SSA approves the cancer disability benefits.
Does Cancer Qualify for Disability?
While we all know that cancer causes disability, the Social Security Administration will not approve all cancer-related benefits applications. SSA follows a strict procedure to approve cancer disability claims. It demands the applicant to suffer from a disability or terminal illness, preventing you from earning a living for a minimum of 12 months or more.
Disability benefits can be like a blessing for the applicant and his/her family members. It helps in meeting everyday living expenses, paying medical bills, and many other vital tasks.
When Can You Claim Disability for Cancer?
Qualifying for Disability Benefits is not possible for everyone. The SSA has a specific manual where there are numerous listings for many recognized disability conditions, including cancer. This manual is a great help to doctors as well as patients for understanding what qualifies them for cancer and other related ailments. To claim for disability for cancer, it is best to contact an experienced disability attorney who knows every single listing in SSA’s manual. He/she can guide you about claiming for cancer-related disability benefits.
These medical records to show your disability due to cancer, or cancer treatment. SSA will check all of the following documents for approving disability claim for Social Security Cancer
- Surgical or biopsy notes
- Report from a certified physician mentioning cancer can’t be cured.
- Biopsy results
- Pathology report showing the type and stage cancer you have
- Imaging scans about tumors related details
- Documents to support the spread of the cancerous cells.
- Details of your cancer treatments
- Side effects
- Duration of side effects
If you have these documents, SSA may consider your cancer disability claim.
How can an attorney help with Social Security Disability and Cancer?
Hiring a skilled attorney who knows everything about cancer related disability claims can be the best decision you can take to get your benefits. The Law Offices of Chermol & Fishman has been in this industry for years. Our attorneys are well aware of how and when SSA approves cancer-related disability benefits. Feel free to consult and discuss your concerns!
A disability lawyer at The Law Offices of Chermol & Fishman is a well-versed filing disability application. We know about what you should do to get your disability claim approved. We will contact your doctor to collect medical evidence and other related records to show your troubles due to cancer.
So, if you are concerned about Cancer and Disability claims, our attorneys can be the best help. We will be with you throughout the hearing process.