Cancer and SSDI Benefits

in General

Many of those with cancer may not consider themselves disabled. However, the fact of the matter is that many diagnoses and radiation treatments prevent you from working. Additionally, the cost of treatment can be overwhelming to handle on your own. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, does it make sense to try and claim SSDI benefits? The answer depends on a variety of factors, including your diagnosis and sources of income.

Understanding Your Diagnosis
Depending on your condition, there are three different programs that can allow you to collect benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a manual known as The Blue Book that outlines which conditions qualify for SSDI. Section 13 focuses on types of cancer. Each type has a set of conditions that must be met to qualify for SSDI. For example, disability benefits with breast cancer require that the cancer must have spread to distant regions of the breast or to other parts of the body.

In emergency situations, you may also apply to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program. The CAL program makes a point to approve applications in a timely manner. You can try to qualify for CAL if:

  • The cancer has spread beyond the region of origin
  • The cancer is inoperable
  • The cancer is recurrent despite treatment

Finally, if your cancer does not meet a listed condition in the Blue Book or CAL program, you will have to go through the standard disability evaluation.

Understanding Your Income
Even if your diagnosis qualifies you for short-term or long-term disability, it may not be enough to cover your living expenses and treatment. Short-term and long-term disability typically offer between 60-70% of your paycheck and can run out after a few months. With the increasing cost of cancer treatments, it is wise to look at multiple options in terms of income. It is possible to qualify for both a short/long term disability and SSDI, so don’t hesitate to reach out for the income you deserve.

When applying for SSDI, be aware of any medical documents needed for the application process. The SSA may also request to speak with your doctor. To make the best case possible to the SSA, it is recommended to have a disability lawyer at your side.

When you need help applying for SSDI, appealing a denial, or finding the right program for you, Ladas & Hoopes is here to help. All initial consultations are free. Contact Ladas & Hoopes for an initial consultation at no charge to you.