Can I Receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if I Have Cancer?
A diagnosis of cancer is not necessarily enough, in and of itself, to qualify an individual for Social Security Disability benefits. In order to qualify for benefits, your condition must be severe enough that it clearly prevents you from performing at your normal job or from completing normal work tasks (referred to by the Social Security Administration as “gainful work activity“). The condition (cancer in this case) must be expected to last at least a year or more. Because of this structure, individuals who suffer from less serious forms of cancer may not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
When applying for disability benefits with the SSA, the individual who reviews your claim will refer to a Blue Book of listed impairments. This “Blue Book” contains all eligible diseases and ailments for SSDI and is regularly updated. Cancer is included in this listing under Section 13.00 as an Malignant Endoplastic Disease. If you can prove that your case of cancer is serious enough to prevent your from working, you should qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. If you do not have enough documentation to meet SSA’s requirements, you may need to continue with the appeals process to obtain benefits.
Moving Forward with your Cancer Social Security Disability Case
If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, be sure to gather as much medical documentation as possible when submitting your claim to the SSA. If you can provide enough objective evidence proving the severity of your condition, you may be approved for benefits during the initial stage of the Social Security Disability application process (to view an overview of the Social Security process, click here). If at the initial application stage, your application is one of the nearly 70 percent that are denied, you will need to file an appeal (or second application) with the SSA within 60 days.
Cancer – an Overview of the Conditions and Symptoms
Cancer is diagnosed when there is uncontrolled, abnormal cell growth in the body that results in damage to the genetic material inside a body’s cells. There are many different types, stages, and levels of cancer. In fact, there are more than one hundred different kinds of cancer that can affect the human body. While some forms of cancer are life-threatening and even fatal, others are treatable and much less serious. Cancer normally starts in one area of the body and then spreads to other areas if not detected. The more a cancer spreads, the more difficult it becomes to treat. The six major types of cancer are:
Doctors perform a great variety of tests when diagnosing cancer. The type and quantity of tests are determined entirely by the type, location, and duration of the possible cancer. Common tests used to diagnose cancer cases include blood tests, blood counts, biopsies, spinal taps, ultrasounds, x-rays, CAT scans, MRIs and surgical diagnostic tests. Often, doctors repeat tests in the same area to track the status of cancerous cells. There is a wide variety of symptoms for cancer patients due to the many different types of cancer. Some possible/likely symptoms of major forms of cancer are:
- changes in the urine
- skin changes
- swollen lymph nodes
- abnormal lumps and other changes in the body.
Some cancers don’t present symptoms for long periods of times, therefore regular cancer screenings are necessary. A more complete listing of cancer symptoms can be found here.
Hiring an SSDI Attorney
Even in cases of cancer diagnoses, there are no guarantees in the application filing process. The best way to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve is by retaining an knowledgeable Social Security lawyer. The overwhelming majority of all applications are rejected at both the initial and appeals stages, but nearly two-thirds of cases brought to a hearing (with a competent Utah lawyer representing the disabled person) are accepted. Call the Summit Disability Law Group and let us help you navigate the complicated legal structure, so you can receive the benefits you deserve.