Two Ways You May Qualify For SSDI When You Have Cancer

Each year, 1.8 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer according to the National Cancer Institute. If you are suffering from cancer, there are two types of Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) that you may qualify for. If you have been diagnosed with a more aggressive cancer, qualifying for benefits is much more straightforward.

Types of Cancer

There are hundreds of types of cancer, and while some are very treatable, others are more invasive. Some cancer patients are able to continue working and will only be off work when receiving a treatment. Other patients may become entirely disabled because of the side effects of the treatment or complications related to cancer. In some cases, you may not qualify for long-term disability at all.

Cancer treatments can be very expensive depending on how much insurance coverage you may have, and you may find it very difficult to make ends meet when you are unable to work. To qualify for long-term disability, you must either have a terminal illness or you must have a condition that will cause you to be out of work for at least 12 months. Other requirements include:

  • Having enough money taken from your paycheck after working a number of years or having paid self-employment taxes
  • Not having collected workers' compensation insurance except under certain circumstances 
  • Meeting the very strict requirements for Social Security disability

Depending on the type of cancer you have, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may offer the option of a "compassionate allowance." With this type of program, the SSA reviews and approves your application as quickly as possible. Usually, cancer will need to have:

  • Spread beyond the region of origin
  • Recur despite being treated
  • Be inoperable

As a result, you will want to work with a long-term disability attorney to help you determine if you can qualify for long-term disability under these conditions. 

Your Cancer Severity Level

If you are not able to qualify under compassionate allowance, you will need to qualify for SSDI based on the severity level of your cancer. You will have to show that your required treatments or the symptoms of your cancer make it impossible for you to work any job. If you fail to do this, your application for SSDI might be denied. You are able to appeal this denial, but you must work closely with a long-term disability attorney to make sure that your claim is not simply denied again.

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