Is Cancer a Disability?
In the Social Security Administration blue book, or rule book, cancer is mentioned as a disease for which the patient can get Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. But the grant of benefit largely depends upon the type, stage, and curability of the cancer patient. However, there are extensive details that one must look into when applying for SSD benefits for cancer patients.
The SSA grants disability benefits to a select few cancer patients, but for some, it is a long process. The SSA will demand detailed cancer reports, a note from the physician, biopsy reports and a lot more.
Only on satisfactory results, a person will be granted with benefits under SSA programs. However, when you know the process of applying for disability for cancer patients, the progress becomes easier. Here we will discuss, various aspects of applying for SSA benefits for cancer patients.
Automatic Medical Qualification– When a person is affected by aggressive and historically hard to treat cancer, he/she will be easily qualified.
The following types of cancer medically qualify a person 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– It is termed as “unresectable” when a person undergoes surgery to remove a tumor, but the tumor is not fully removed. If a patient can prove such a situation, then they will be eligible to get disability benefits under the SSA.
In rare cases, it is seen that after surgery and following chemotherapy, the tumor reappears. In such cases, an applicant also becomes medically eligible to receive disability benefits.
This reoccurrence of the tumor is called “recurrent” cancer. Patients with any type of recurrent cancer automatically get approved for disability benefits under SSA. The following may result in recurrent cancer:
- Lung Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Uterine and Ovary Cancer
Can You Get Disability Benefits for Cancer?
As said earlier, getting disability benefits can be easy with a few limitations. Now, there are instances when people experience disability due to long term cancer treatment or even with side-effects of cancer.
For example, this disease makes a person physically as well as emotionally weak. It can happen where the patient is unable to work and earn a living. In such cases, the SSA judges their disabilities and grant them benefits under the SSA programs.
As per the rules of SSA a person qualifies as disabled when their disability lasts for one year or more. On such occasions, the person is not able to perform their daily duty, or they are unable to continue with their job.
It is seen that cancer patients are unable to function properly due to the effects of treatment as well. Procedures like chemotherapy and radiation therapy impacts the patient more than they realize.
Chemotherapy & Radiation therapy can cause the flowing long- term disabilities:
- heart problems
- liver problems
- lung disease
- reproductive disorders
- eye problems
- heart problems
- reproductive disorders
- intestinal problems
- cognitive dysfunction
- bone weakness.
What if Cancer Spreads to Other Parts of the Body?
When cancer spreads beyond the actual part 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 happens even after the first diagnosis has been cured.
The SSA may ask for various medical reports to justify the spread. The most common documentation asked by the SSA is the biopsy report of secondary cancer, x-ray reports, CT scan, MRI, and more.
However, the only diagnosis of such secondary cancer will not make a person eligible to receive benefits under SSA. After the physician states it to be distant metastases, the applicant must receive treatment. It 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 their cancer diagnosis.
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. But there are various definitions that an applicant should know to win a disability benefit.
Here is a detailed study.
- Financial Coverage for Cancer by SSA
Social Security Disability programs offer financial coverage for cancer patients. Such financial assistance includes payment of medical bills, prescribed medication expenses, chemotherapy and radiation expenses, and other related medical expenses.
However, the loss of earning remains the biggest blockage for patients suffering from cancer. To support your monthly personal expenditure, you can apply for benefits. You can do it through employer-sponsored or private short term (STD) or a long-term disability (LTD) plan.
After a prescribed period, you will be left with no benefit. This is because STD offers financial coverage for three months, whereas LTD offers financial assistance for six months.
The treatment cost of cancer is paid by the SSA. The cost of treatment cannot be neglected as a person may spend up to $10,000 toward cancer treatment.
Cancer treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation, and other screenings such as CT scan, MRI, X-ray, etc. It also includes monthly medications which amount to a huge sum of money every month.
Compassionate Allowance by SSA
Compassionate allowance or CAL is an SSA run program that offers a quick evaluation of cancer patients to receive SSA benefits. A few forms of aggressive cancer can be eligible for this program. If you are suffering from cancer, which entangles one of the below-listed criteria, you may qualify under the CAL program.
- Widespread of cancer beyond the region of origin or termed as unresectable
- 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.But, among those 60 to 70% of the claims get denied. If you are someone who has faced rejection recently, there is no reason to get disheartened. An experienced disability attorney can help. 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 curate all the necessary documents as demanded by the SSA.
You have 60 days from the date of rejection of your application to reapply. Go through the Blue Book and look for all of the missing information that you incorrectly put in your application and find every flaw in your application.
Also, seek additional documentation and written communication stating the severity of the illness from an expert, preferably your medical practitioner.
However, if the process of reapplication seems overwhelming in your diseased physical state, you can contact a disability attorney. While you take care of your health, an experienced attorney will undertake the responsibility of all your legal needs.
The denial for the first-time applicant is mostly due to:
- Incomplete application
- Lack of details
- Unable to follow the guidelines as mentioned in the Blue Book
- The reasons not properly defined and supported with documents
Here is how your disability attorney can help you win 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
If you are looking for a seasoned Social Security Disability attorney, then Khattar Law LLC is the right choice for you. We offer highly experienced disability law officers, who render their valued service to our clients. The chances of your disability claim being granted increase, as you seek the help of an attorney. The reason is:
- They will not leave your application incomplete
- They will follow all the guidelines as mentioned in the Blue Book
- You are not the first one they are working for; therefore, they add the value of their experience to your case.
Expert help may help you win your disability claim. Therefore, if your health does not permit, contact Khattar Law LLC and increase your chance of receiving SSD benefits.