Is Cancer a Disability?

In the Social Security Administration blue book, or rule book, cancer is mentioned as a disease for which a person can get disability benefits. The grant of disability benefits, however, largely depends upon the type, stage, and curability of cancer. There are extensive details that must be considered before applying for SSD benefits based on having cancer.

The SSA grants disability benefits to a select few people with cancer, but for some, it is a long process. The SSA will demand detailed cancer medical records, a note from the physician, biopsy reports, and much more. Only based on satisfactory medical evidence will a person with cancer be granted disability benefits under SSA programs. When you understand the process of applying for disability for cancer patients, however, the progress becomes easier. Here we will discuss various aspects of applying for SSA benefits for persons with cancer.

Automatic Medical Qualification– When a person is affected by an aggressive form of cancer that is historically difficult to treat, he/she may be easily qualified for disability benefits.

A person with any of the following types of cancer can medically qualify to receive disability benefits under the SSA.

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Salivary cancers
  • Sinonasal cancer
  • Any small cell cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Failed Surgery or Treatment is termed as “unresectable” when a person undergoes an operation to remove a tumor, but the tumor cannot be fully removed surgically. If a person can prove such a situation, then they will be eligible to get disability benefits under the SSA.

In rare cases after surgery and following chemotherapy there have been observations where a tumor reappears. In such cases, an applicant can become medically eligible to receive disability benefits.

Social Security Benefits For Cancer Patients

This reoccurrence of the tumor is called “recurrent” cancer. A person with any type of recurrent cancer may automatically get approved for disability benefits under SSA. The following types of recurrent cancers have been listed by the SSA  as a qualifying disability:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Uterine and Ovary Cancer

Can You Get Disability Benefits for Cancer?

As stated earlier, applying for disability benefits can appear easy but can involve a few challenges.  are instances when people experience disability due to long-term cancer treatment or experience severe side-effects of cancer.

For example, cancer can make a person physically as well as emotionally weak. This disease can be severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to work and earn a living and carry out routine activities. In such cases, the SSA evaluates their disabilities and decides whether to grant them benefits under the SSA programs.

As per the rules of the SSA, a person qualifies as disabled when their disability lasts for one year or more. In such cases, the person is not able to perform their daily activities, or they are unable to continue with their job.
Very often, people who are diagnosed with cancer are unable to function properly due to the effects of treatment as well. Procedures like chemotherapy and radiation therapy detrimentally impact people who undergo such treatments more than they realize.

Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy can cause long-term disabilities by causing or exacerbating:

  • heart problems
  • liver problems
  • lung disease
  • cataracts
  • reproductive disorders
  • eye problems
  • heart problems
  • hypothyroidism
  • reproductive disorders
  • intestinal problems
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • bone weakness

What if Cancer Spreads to Other Parts of the Body?

When cancer spreads beyond the actual area where it was first diagnosed, it is called “distant metastases”. In such a scenario, a person experiences the development of a tumor in other parts of the body. This can happen even after the first diagnosis has been cured.

The SSA may ask for various medical reports to show that cancer has spread. The most common documentation asked by the SSA is the biopsy report of secondary cancer, x-ray reports, CT scan, MRI, and more.

The mere diagnosis of secondary cancer will not automatically make a person eligible to receive disability benefits under SSA. After a licensed physician finds that the condition is distant metastases, the applicant must receive treatment which can be radiation or chemotherapy, in order to be eligible for SSD benefits.

Other than these criteria, the SSA also provides disability for cancer survivors for those who have survived a cancer diagnosis.

Disability for Cancer

What Benefits Can I Claim If I Have Cancer?

When you become qualified for benefits under the SSA for cancer, the SSA grants you benefits for day-to-day expenses. You can get compensation for medical bills, prescription costs, and related healthcare expenses.

The SSA uses a set of rules for the application of SSD benefits which is clearly stated in the Blue Book. As per the Blue Book, Cancer is a mentionable disability. There are various definitions that an applicant should know to win a disability benefit.
Here is a detailed study.

  • Financial Coverage for Cancer by the SSA

Social Security Disability programs offer financial coverage for people who are diagnosed with cancer. Such financial assistance may cover the cost of medical bills, prescribed medication, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and other related medical expenses.

The loss of earnings, however, remains the most significant limitation for persons suffering from cancer. To support your monthly personal expenditure, you can apply for disability benefits if you have cancer. You can do it through employer-sponsored or private short term (STD) or a long-term disability (LTD) plan.

After a prescribed period, however, you will be left with no more benefits. This is because STD offers financial coverage for three months, while LTD offers financial assistance for six months.

The cost of cancer treatment is paid by the SSA. The expense of medical treatment cannot be neglected since a person may spend up to $10,000 towards health costs.

Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and other screenings such as CT scans, MRIs, x-rays, and more. It may also include monthly medication which amounts to a substantial sum of money every month.

Compassionate Allowance by SSA

Compassionate allowance or CAL is an SSA run program that offers a quick evaluation of persons with cancer and whether they are eligible to receive SSA benefits. People with a few forms of aggressive cancer can be eligible for this program. If you are suffering from cancer, which involves one of the criteria listed below, you may qualify for benefits under the CAL program.

  • Widespread cancer beyond the region of origin also termed unresectable cancer
  • The cancer is inoperable
  • The cancer is recurrent even after treatment

How to Appeal if Your Application Has Faced Denial?

The SSA office receives numerous amount of applications each day,  and among those, 60% to 70% of claims get denied. If you or someone you know has recently had a disability benefits claim denied there is no reason to get disheartened. An experienced disability attorney can help you. Searching online for “Social Security Benefits For Cancer Patients” and getting in contact with your SSA office is a great way to learn more about why your claim was denied and more.

A disease like cancer can be devastating both mentally and physically. You may not be in a condition where you can clearly think and gather all of the necessary documents as demanded by the SSA.

You will have 60 days from the date of the rejection of your application to reapply. You can go through the Blue Book and look for all of the missing or incorrect information that may be contained in your application to find every flaw in your application. Alternatively, you can contact one of our attorneys to assist you with this.

Also, you may need help with seeking additional documentation and written communication to support the severity of your illness from an expert, preferably your physician.

If the process of reapplication seems overwhelming to you, please contact one of our disability attorneys. While you take care of your health, an experienced attorney will undertake the responsibility to take care of all your legal needs.

Most  first-time applicants get their case denied due to:

  • Incomplete information
  • A lack of details
  • Inability To follow the guidelines as mentioned in the Blue Book
  • The reasons are not properly defined and supported with reliable documentation

Here is how your disability attorney can help you increase your chances of winning a Social Security Disability Claim:

  • Help you to complete documents according to the Blue Book;
  • Keep you updated with the latest development of your case;
  • Guide you with their expertise to increase the chances of you winning your claim;
  • They will not leave your application incomplete;
  • They will follow all the guidelines as mentioned in the Blue Book; and
  • The added value of their experience in handling disability benefits claims cases involving persons with cancer.

If you are looking for a reputable Social Security Disability attorney, then Khattar Law, LLC is the right choice for you. We have highly experienced disability lawyers, who render their valued service to our clients about SSDI/SSI for cancer. Therefore, contact Khattar Law, LLC and increase your chance of receiving disability benefits.

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