According to the American Cancer Society, there are over 200 different kinds of cancer, and over 1,700,000 diagnoses each year. Cancers vary from aggressive to non-invasive, but any type and any stage of cancer can be debilitating. Even if the cancer is diagnosed early and easily able to be treated, chemotherapy and radiation can cause side effects that negatively impact your daily life and work. In order to qualify for disability benefits, just as with any other condition, a cancer patient must establish that they’re unable to work for at least twelve (12) consecutive months.
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book is a guide of qualifying medical conditions, and section 13.00 of the Blue Book is dedicated to cancer diagnoses. Each listing is defined by where the cancer originates and develops, and some specific criteria. For example, breast cancer must have spread to far regions of the breast or to other parts of the body in order to be approved for benefits, but for esophageal cancer you’ll be approved automatically if you can provide documentation of your diagnosis.
The SSA also has a Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program. This program reduces approval wait times, by compiling a list of the most severe disabilities, including some aggressive cancers. If your cancer is metastatic, inoperable, or treatment resistant, you may qualify for benefits through CAL.
If you can’t qualify for benefits through a Blue Book listing, it’s possible you could qualify using a medical-vocational allowance. This requires that a residual functional capacity (RFC) be completed. As discussed in other blogs, the RFC determines what kind of work you’re capable of doing, whether you’re able to be active, whether you can do sedentary work, or whether you’re unable to work at all. A medical-vocational allowance will consider your medical conditions, age, education, work history, skills, and limitations.
If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and find yourself unable to work, contact Molly Burke Law Office to set up your free, no-obligation consultation. We’ve helped hundreds of Kentuckians to secure the benefits that they deserve, and we’d love to help you too!