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Social Security Disability for Cancer Patients

Social Security Disability for Cancer Patients


If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are now pursuing treatment, you have likely discovered just how limiting life can feel during this time. Many patients with cancer find themselves unable to work during treatment, and even for a period of time afterward. That’s why various forms of cancer are included in Social Security’s Blue Book, a manual which aids in determinations for disability benefits.

More than 200 types of cancer exist, with some being more aggressive and harder to treat than others. The Blue Book’s section on cancer breaks down this information by type of cancer as well as how far the disease has spread and progressed. While cancer and the associated treatments are debilitating under any circumstances, a cancer diagnosis will not automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits.

Instead, your approval or denial will rest upon a number of factors, such as:

  • How aggressive your type of cancer happens to be
  • Whether or not the cancer has spread beyond its initial site
  • The type of treatment you are receiving, or will receive, and how that treatment will affect your ability to work
  • How your symptoms affect your daily functioning
  • Residual symptoms after reaching remission
  • How long you will be unable to work

Your inability to work is one enormous deciding factor. While many conditions cause pain, discomfort, and functional limitations, Social Security requires that you be unable to work for a period of at least twelve months, in order to qualify for disability benefits.

In some cases, your cancer diagnosis might qualify under Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances program. This program helps you gain a quicker review and (usually) approval, so that benefits can start much sooner. If your cancer has spread beyond its region of origin, is inoperable, or has recurred numerous times despite treatment, you will likely qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program.

Whether your application hits the slow track or fast track (Compassionate Allowances), your medical history will become vital to the process. Your history must be complete and detailed, so that you can meet the criteria set forth either by the Blue Book or Compassionate Allowances program.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a form of cancer, but denied Social Security Disability benefits, contact us. We can review your medical history, help you determine what additional documentation is needed, and assist you throughout the initial application and appeals process.