The Social Security Disability
Experts Since 1984

SSI & SSDI for Cancer – Benefits After A Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer & Disability Benefits

Being diagnosed with cancer and having to undergo treatment can be incredibly debilitating. Many people are awarded Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits after a cancer diagnosis when they’re unable to work.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides financial support to people with disabilities who can’t perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). Therefore, cancer patients who cannot work due to their illness or corresponding treatments are qualified to receive disability benefits. Claimants can also apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for cancer if they don’t qualify for SSDI.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability After A Cancer Diagnosis

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for approving and denying disability claims. They utilize what is known as the Blue Book to review applications and determine whether a claimant qualifies for benefits.

In the Blue Book, section 13.00 is reserved for impairments related to cancer. To qualify for SSDI or SSI, a claimant must prove their condition meets or equals the criteria under an impairment listing. Additionally, they must prove their disability is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.

Whether your condition is a result of cancer treatment or the illness itself, you won’t automatically qualify for benefits. However, it’s easier to qualify if your condition falls under one of the following:

  • Cancers that are inoperable or unlikely to respond to surgery
  • Cancers that have metastasized
  • Recurring cancers

Disability Onset Date

Cancer patients can be awarded benefits for a period of time, generally up to 6 months, before they were first diagnosed. Determination of the disability onset date is based on various factors, like the following:

  • When symptoms were first reported
  • Where the cancer is located
  • The type of cancer
  • How far the cancer has spread

A claimant will need to provide detailed medical evidence, such as diagnostic test results, to support their reported disability onset date.

Compassionate Allowances

Compassionate Allowances is a program that streamlines the disability review process for eligible claimants. It’s designed to swiftly recognize medical conditions that unequivocally meet the eligibility criteria for disability benefits. These types of conditions include some specific types of cancers and rare diseases.

Some examples of cancers that automatically qualify for expedited benefit payments include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Adrenal cancer with distant metastases, or that is inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent
  • Acute leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Bladder cancer with distant metastases, or that is inoperable or unresectable
  • Stomach cancer with distant metastases, or that is inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent

If you have cancer, or are struggling with the aftereffects of cancer treatment, reach out to our law firm. Our experienced disability attorneys at Peña & Bromberg can help you get the benefits you need.

Hiring An Attorney

Due to the complexities of filing for Social Security Disability benefits, the best course of action is to hire an attorney. At Peña & Bromberg, our SSDI and SSI lawyers in Stockton, CA help clients through every stage of the application process. Whether you’re applying for the first time or appealing a denied claim, our experienced attorneys will advocate for you.

The Three Year Rule – Is Cancer In Remission Considered A Disability?

The SSA evaluates cancer-related disabilities under what is called the Three Year Rule. If an illness has been successfully treated and there is no evidence of a recurrence for 3 or more years, the claimant will no longer qualify for benefits.

Those awarded benefits due to cancer treatment are guaranteed to be considered disabled for 3 years. Therefore, beneficiaries will be able to receive benefits until 3 years have passed even if the cancer goes into remission.

Cancer Treatment-Related Disabilities

Often, claimants apply for SSDI or SSI because of symptoms that arise as a result of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy.

Patients can develop serious and disabling conditions from treatment even when a treatment plan is successful. In such cases, their disability is evaluated outside the cancer diagnosis itself.

Contact Our California Social Security Disability Lawyers

Are you asking, Can I get disability for cancer? If so, our team can help you determine your eligibility.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, contact Peña & Bromberg. As an experienced Social Security law firm, our lawyers know how to help you get approved for disability benefits. We can also help you file an appeal if your original claim was denied.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Disability Benefits for Cancer – FAQs

Q: Can I get disability for lung cancer?

A: Individuals with non-small cell lung cancer, sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung (Stages II – IV), small cell lung cancer, and Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma (KS) automatically qualify for SSD. If you have another type of lung cancer, you may qualify for disability if you meet the criteria under Blue Book listing 13.14.

Listing 13.15 covers pleura and mediastinum cancers, such as malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Q: Can you get disability for skin cancer?

A: Yes, you can get disability benefits for certain types of skin cancer. The Blue Book impairment listing 13.03 covers the following:

  • Sarcoma or carcinoma with metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes.
  • Carcinoma invading deep extradermal structures (e.g. skeletal muscle, cartilage, or bone).

Skin malignant melanoma with metastases is a qualifying condition covered by Compassionate Allowances.

Q: Is breast cancer a disability?

A: Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. You may qualify for disability benefits with breast cancer under listing 13.10 in the Blue Book. If you have sarcoma of the breast, then your disability may be evaluated under listing 13.04.

Q: Can you get disability for thyroid cancer?

A: Thyroid cancers are evaluated under listing 13.09 in the Blue Book. Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer (ATC) is covered by the Compassionate Allowances program.

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