Cancer and Social Security Disability
While SSDI and SSI claims filed due to cancer are handled in a similar way as other claims, cases in this category can be expedited based on the specific disease and prognosis. There are also two different ways someone can be approved for Social Security cancer benefits. In addition to approving claims that meet the specific guidelines in their blue book, the Social Security Administration also approves claims where the applicant can prove that cancer prevents them from returning to their job or doing any other type of work.
Disability Benefits With Cancer: Is a Diagnosis All You Need?
Although being diagnosed with cancer can be a very scary experience, it doesn’t mean an individual is automatically approved for Social Security disability benefits. This is because the SSA doesn’t view all forms of cancer equally. Generally, it’s important to show that your specific cancer falls into one of three main categories: it can’t be controlled with treatment and is inoperable, it has distant metastases, or that even after irradiation or surgery, it has recurred.
It’s important to note that while the SSA emphasizes those categories, there are specific types of cancer that may receive immediate approval. Examples of those types of cancer include gall bladder, liver, pancreatic or inflammatory breast cancer. Additional examples include spinal cord carcinoma, metastatic brain carcinoma or mesothelioma of the pleura.
How Do You Prove the Severity of Your Situation?
Location, tumor development, treatment response and post-treatment symptoms are some of the factors the SSA will take into account when evaluating a cancer Social Security disability case. When submitting this type of claim, it’s important to include a cancer diagnosis that’s verifiable by its symptoms, as well as any specific lab findings.
Are Disability Benefits Permanent?
If there is a chance that a cancer can improve, any disability benefits secured for it won’t be permanent. However, that doesn’t mean individuals need to worry about losing them. For example, even though a tumor that disappears for over three years means that condition no longer meets its original guidelines, someone may still qualify for benefits through other criteria that are identified during their disability review.
Denied Cancer Disability Benefits?
It can seem difficult to imagine being denied cancer disability benefits, since the condition is so serious. However, many cancer patients each year are denied benefits the first time they apply. Even though it is possible to get benefits such as SSI for cancer, Social Security disability eligibility rules mean you must have a type of cancer which prevents you from working for twelve months or more or must have a terminal cancer. If your cancer is not terminal and does not prevent you from working for a minimum of one year, you may be denied benefits.
The SSA Blue Book will outline the qualifications for each type of cancer. Breast cancer, for example, must have spread to other parts of the body or distant parts of the breast to qualify for benefits. Patients with esophageal cancer qualify for benefits automatically. Knowing the specific requirements for your type of cancer can help you understand why you may have been denied.
If you have cancer and have been denied benefits, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco for a consultation. Lisa M. Ritacco focuses exclusively on benefit claims and has experience helping patients who have been denied benefits. Whether you meet Blue Book requirements or you cannot work but also do not meet requirements for your type of cancer, contact our office for a consultation.
Reasons to Hire a Cancer Disability Lawyer
If you need to secure disability benefits for cancer, a disability attorney may be able to help.
An attorney can answer your questions and may help you apply if you have not done so already. If you have applied and have been denied, an attorney can review your claim and work to strengthen your arguments. Your attorney may then work to file an appeal within 60 days, before the cut-off period.
Being diagnosed with cancer is stressful and frightening. An attorney may take care of many of the details to help you apply for benefits. Your attorney can answer your questions, may file paperwork for you and can ensure you get the right medical testing and visits with oncologists or other specialists to get the documentation needed.
With an attorney by your side, you do not have to feel alone — and with an expert handling all the details for you, you may have more time for your health.
Working with a disability attorney may also improve your chances for success. An experienced attorney knows how to meet Blue Book listing requirements or how to prove disability if you do not meet the basic requirements. From advising you about attending medical appointments to helping you complete the forms, an attorney may be able to help you at every stage during the benefits application process.
If you would like to hire a disability benefits attorney, contact the law office of Lisa M. Ritacco to schedule a consultation. Lisa M. Ritacco is an SSI and SSD lawyer who regularly helps benefit applicants throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
Will Your Claim Be Approved?
Because the Social Security Administration denies around 70% of all initial claims, it’s likely that the first application you submit won’t be approved. However, because there is an appeals process, an initial denial doesn’t mean you can’t ultimately become approved. Whether you need help with your appeal or want assistance with your initial filing, it’s useful to have access to the expertise of a cancer Social Security disability lawyer. To speak with Lisa M. Ritacco about your case, contact her online or call her at 877-459-4799 for a free consultation.