If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer you may be looking at every option to help you and your family financially. Because we don’t ordinarily lump “cancer” and “disability” together, you may not have considered Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. But cancer patients can and often do qualify for SSD.
Do Cancer Patients Qualify for Social Security Disability?
There are more than 200 types of cancer. Patients fall all along the spectrum from treatable to terminal. So there’s no single answer for every cancer patient.
As a general rule, cancer patients can qualify for SSD if they will be out of work for 12 months. These twelve months include the time you can’t work due to:
- The symptoms
- The treatments
- The lingering effects
You do not need to wait until those twelve months have passed, however. If a doctor can show that you will be out of work for that time, you can qualify. Cancer that is expected to be fatal can also qualify.
How Do I Show My Condition Qualifies?
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of diagnoses that qualify for SSD. This list is maintained in what is called “The Blue Book.”
Section 13 of “The Blue Book” covers various types of cancers. They are organized by the origin location of the cancer. Each listing will include symptoms that would qualify someone to claim disability on those grounds.
Keeping a personal health journal as well as your medical records will help demonstrate that you qualify for one of the listed conditions.
What if my Condition Isn’t Listed?
If your cancer is not listed, or you do not meet the listed symptoms there is still one other way to qualify for SSD.
Anyone can apply for SSD if they believe their condition prevents them from being able to work any job in the country for twelve months. This is called “residual functional capacity” or an RFC analysis.
This is a particularly difficult to show in cancer cases because “The Blue Book” already identifies the cancers and symptoms that would ordinarily qualify. If you are considering applying for SSD this way, be sure to consult with an attorney.
How Long Will It Take to Receive Benefits?
Receiving SSD benefits usually takes several months. But in cases of particularly aggressive cancers there is a faster program you can apply under that will help you receive benefits within weeks. The Compassionate Allowance programs applies to most cancers that:
- Has spread beyond the original area
- Cannot be operated on
- That has recurred despite treatment
Speak To An SSD Lawyer Today
The best thing you can do to make the most informed decision about SSD benefits as a cancer patient is to consult with a Social Security disability lawyer. The Packard Law Firm is committed to helping individuals with cancer make the best Social Security decision for them and their families. Reach out to us today.