If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be wondering whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
The Social Security Administration (SSA) does provide financial assistance for cancer patients. However, a cancer diagnosis doesn’t automatically qualify you to receive benefits. Read on to learn which types of cancer qualify for disability benefits and how to establish a claim based on your specific cancer diagnosis.
How does the SSA determine which cancer patients qualify for Social Security disability?
Some, but not all, cancer patients qualify for Social Security disability benefits. To qualify, you must meet strict medical and work requirements outlined by the SSA.
Cancer that is identified in the early stages and is responsive to treatment doesn’t qualify for disability benefits. Even undergoing cancer treatment, such as chemo or radiation, does not mean you will be approved for benefits.
However, late stages of cancer are considered a disability by the SSA. If your cancer diagnosis is so severe that you will be out of work for at least one year, the SSA may consider your cancer a disability, making you eligible for benefits. In fact, advanced cancers that are stage IV or terminal often automatically qualify for disability benefits.
Cancers that are inoperable, that recur following treatment, or that have metastasized or spread to other areas are eligible for disability benefits. Other cancers might require showing evidence demonstrating that the cancer meets the strict definition outlined by the SSA or that the symptoms and treatment for the cancer are so limiting that you are no longer able to work.
The criteria to determine eligibility to receive SSDI benefits for a cancer diagnosis are listed in Section 13 of the SSA’s Blue Book.
Which types of cancer qualify for SSDI benefits?
If your cancer is not terminal or stage IV, you can still qualify for disability benefits. Below is a list of cancers that qualify for SSDI benefits:
- Brain cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Gallbladder cancer
- Inflammatory breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Salivary cancers
- Sinonasal cancer
- Any small cell cancer
- Thyroid cancer
How do I establish a disability claim based on cancer?
To be approved for disability benefits for a cancer diagnosis, a patient will need to show definitive medical evidence of a diagnosis. This includes physician notes detailing your diagnosis and containing information about your symptoms, your treatments, any side effects, and your restrictions and limitations.
For fast approval, Disability Determination Services (DDS) must be able to determine that you have one of the cancers on the compassionate allowances list or that your form of cancer is indeed disabling. Proper documentation is essential to ensure that your claim is processed quickly and accurately. Without the right documentation, your claim cannot be approved.
Reach out to the disability attorneys at Hunter and Everage
A qualified disability attorney can make sure your documentation is complete and meets all requirements. To increase your chances of qualifying for Social Security disability benefits based on your cancer diagnosis, contact the experienced disability legal team at Hunter & Everage today.