Applying For Social Security Disability If You Have Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you understandably might be overwhelmed with anxiety and fear about the future.

The potentially life-threatening nature of a cancer diagnosis and the rigors of fighting the disease and coping with treatment side effects can be stressful. Further, financial obstacles can interfere with your ability to focus on your recovery. Many people fighting cancer are incapacitated in terms of their ability to continue in their livelihood, which compounds health-related stress with economic hardships. Although you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits, a cancer diagnosis does not guarantee benefits even if the cancer has metastasized. Our Pennsylvania Social Security disability lawyers understand the emotional, physical, and financial challenges cancer patients confront, and we are prepared to fight for the disability benefits our clients need to ease the financial burdens they face.

While Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) claims filed primarily based on cancer are similar to other SSDI claims, there are specific cases where the process of obtaining benefits will be expedited based on medical evidence related to your prognosis and condition. Social Security disability claims that primarily involve cancer typically follow along one of two distinct pathways. If your condition is listed in the Social Security blue book, you usually qualify for disability benefits without further analysis. Although your type of cancer and/or specific stage might not be included in the blue book, you can still qualify for benefits based on your inability to continue your occupation or transition to new employment.

Generally, most types of cancer do not automatically qualify you for Social Security disability benefits unless your tumors are inoperable or have undergone distant metastases. However, you typically will qualify if your cancer has recurred after surgery, chemotherapy and/or irradiation. You usually can obtain immediate approval of your claim if you suffer with certain types of cancer:

  • Primary cancer of the gall bladder, liver, or bile ducts
  • Mesothelioma of the pleura
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Small cell cancer of the lung
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Metastatic cancer of the brain or spinal cord

If you have been diagnosed with these types of cancer, your condition will be included in the blue book. When your eligibility is evaluated, medical documents will be reviewed, such as diagnostic imaging studies, doctor’s notes, blood test results, hospital admission and discharge summaries, and other documents from your medical records.

When a claim for benefits is being evaluated, location of the cancerous lesion, level of impairment caused by a malignant tumor, degree of involvement, development and formation of the tumor, treatment response, and significance of residual symptoms will be considered. The diagnosis must be verified by objective medical evidence like lab findings and symptoms. The medical documents also must identify the origin of the cancer and the tumor as primary, recurrent, or metastatic.

In situations where carcinoma is identified beyond the regional lymph nodes, you will most likely be considered eligible for Social Security disability benefits by falling within a Social Security blue book listing for neoplastic disease. Many individuals with advanced cancers qualify for accelerated receipt of benefits as “compassionate allowances.” Compassionate allowances provide for expedited benefits to individuals with severe medical conditions that should clearly qualify under an SSA impairment listing.

Our experienced Pennsylvania SSDI lawyers at the law firm of Krasno Krasno & Onwudinjo work with our clients by helping them obtain the Social Security disability benefits they need when battling cancer. We also review documents provided by our clients’ physicians to confirm that necessary information is included in the medical file. We invite you to call us toll free at 877-299-0779 to learn how we can help.

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