February 24, 2010
Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits
Indiana Social Security disability claimants diagnosed with cancer, often find themselves being denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. As most cancer patients know, the typical reaction once diagnosed with cancer is the fear of dying. Many cancer patients undergo extensive treatment for their cancer. This treatment can include chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This treatment often causes side effects causing the patient pain and other unpleasant symptoms . As though this is not enough for a cancer patient to experience, it may not be a disabling condition that is guaranteed to receive disability benefits in the eyes of the Social Security Administration (SSA).
You may wonder what it would take for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to award a cancer patient disability benefits. To qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, any disability must last or be expected to last for at least twelve consecutive months or the disability must expect to result in death. This includes claimants with cancer. Fortunately, some disability claimants respond to treatment and may not necessarily need the assistance of an experienced Social Security disability attorney. To obtain Social Security disability benefits from the SSA, it is imperative to understand what the SSA will consider in determining your disability.
The SSA will consider to what extent the cancer is involved, frequency, duration and how responsive the disability claimant is to treatment. In addition, the SSA will consider where the malignancy began (origin) and what effects post-therapeutic residuals have on the cancer patient. Social Security disability claimants filing an appeal might find it beneficial to consider the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments” to determine if the cancer they experience is acknowledged by the SSA. In the Listing of Impairments, Section 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, you will find:
- Lung Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Cancer of the Head and Neck
- Sarcoma of the Skin or of the Soft Parts
- Malignant Melanoma
- Cancer of the Lymph Nodes or Thyroid Gland
- Carcinoma or Sarcoma of the Salivary Glands
- Cancer of the Skeletal System (Exclusive of the Jaw)
- Cancer of the Mandible, Maxilla, Orbit, or Temporal Fossa
- Cancer of the Brain or Spinal Cord
- Cancer of the Pleura or Mediastinum
- Cancer of the Abdomen, Esophagus or Stomach
- Cancer of the Small Intestine
- Carcinoma or Sarcoma of the Large Intestine
- Cancer of the Liver, Gallbladder or of the Pancreas
- Carcinoma of the Kidneys, Adrenal Glands, or Ureters
- Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder, Prostate Gland or Cancer of the Testicles
- Carcinoma or Sarcoma of the Uterus (Corpus or Cervix)
- Cancer of the Ovaries
- Carcinoma or Sarcoma of the Uterine (Fallopian) Tubes, Penis or Vulva
Also of note, the SSA may consider other listings not contained in the list above to determine whether your disabling condition falls within another category of impairment. If the SSA determines that your disability does not meet a listing or medically equal a listing, it is important to determine your residual functional capacity. Remember, if your residual functional capacity does not allow you to engage in substantial gainful activity, you may be entitled to SSDI or SSI benefits.
So what does a disability claimant do if they find that their diagnosis of cancer is not enough to receive disability benefits? Let the the SSA know of any and all other disabing condition you experience. The SSA will consider all of your impairments combined together to determine disability. Your combination of impairments may be enough to win your disability claim.
We realize Indiana disability claimants feel as though they are in a maze of obstacles when attempting to get disability benefits for cancer. You have a right to an attorney when fighting your disability appeal. Indianapolis disability benefits lawyer, Scott D. Lewis, is happy to provide a free consultation and will attempt to clear up any problems you may experience when pursuing your disability claim. Call (317) 423-8888 today!