Cancer

Living with a disabling condition can severely reduce quality of life and make it impossible for a person to work. When the complications of a disability prevent a person from completing job tasks, the individual may be forced to stop working. Mounting medical bills, mortgage or rent payments, utility costs and grocery bills often start to accumulate, and living without an income is a stressful situation. Fortunately, social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to help qualified individuals.

SSDI benefits are paid out from an insurance program managed by the federal government. The funds for these benefits come from paycheck deductions, and people who receive benefit payments have paid into the insurance program when they were working. Unlike other federal and state assistance programs, SSDI is an earned benefit.

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What is Cancer?

Cancer is a broad term that applies to a wide range of diseases. All cancers involve the uncontrolled division of cells in a certain part of the body, and this division of cells will spread to another part of the body if the condition is not identified in early stages. Cancer can start in any part of the body. While cells are intended to divide to form new cells when old cells die or are damaged, cancerous cells divide continuously. The rapidly dividing cells form tumors.

The malignant tumors that are formed when cancerous cells divide will eventually spread from the affected part of the body. Cancer can be a genetic condition, or a person may develop the condition in response to an outside influence. For example, exposure to cigarette smoke increases the likelihood that cancer will develop.

Successful treatment of cancer depends on the location of cancerous cells and the stage in which the cancer is when it is detected by a medical professional. Radiation and chemotherapy are treatments used to kill the cancerous cells, but these treatments cause serious side effects. Cancer is not curable, but treatment can cause the condition to go into remission.

Symptoms of cancer include unexplained weight loss, chronic fever, fatigue, pain, poor wound healing and unusual bleeding. Side effects of radiation and chemotherapy include fatigue, pain, sores in the mouth and throat, hair loss, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, mood disorders and weakened immune system.

Getting Disability for Cancer

If a person has cancer that is considered to be inoperable or has spread throughout the body, SSDI benefits may be paid. Certain types of cancer also qualify a person for benefits. These types include liver cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, metastatic brain cancer and pancreatic cancer.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will take factors including location of the tumors, spreading of cancerous cells and the body’s response to cancer treatment into consideration when determining whether a person qualifies for benefits. In-depth documentation including test results, treatment details and a record of residual complications after treatment is complete must be provided.

If the prognosis is poor, a person may qualify for SSDI benefits under the Compassionate Allowance program. This program allows for the expedited payment of benefits when a condition is both severe and easily proven.

Getting Help from an Attorney

When a person is suffering from cancer, it is important to stay focused on treatment options. Applying for SSDI benefits is a long, confusing process that takes the focus off of being treated. SSDI attorneys are able to help individuals who are suffering from cancer apply for much-needed benefits. These knowledgeable professionals can take the stress out of applying for benefits. The first step to a less stressful application process is to schedule a consultation.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.