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Colon Cancer and Social Security Disability

Colon cancer is among the most common forms of cancer. Medically speaking, the condition is categorized with rectal cancer as “colorectal cancer.” Colon cancer can be melanoma or lymphoma, but it is usually an adenocarcinoma. Common treatments include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy.

As with other types of cancer, colon cancer may spread (metastasize) to other parts of your body. If it is caught early enough, it is often treatable. However, there are cases in which colon cancer tumors are inoperable or when the cancer has spread beyond the point where it can be effectively treated.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability with Colon Cancer

If you have colon cancer, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration labels colon cancer (and rectal cancer) as “cancer of the large intestine” and outlines the guidelines for determining eligibility for disability benefits under section 13.00, Malignant Neoplastic Diseases.

Colon Cancer as a Compassionate Allowance

Some people with colon cancer qualify for a compassionate allowance. Compassionate allowances allow you to move more quickly through the Social Security claims process, obtaining benefits in an average of six weeks. Claimants who do not qualify for a compassionate allowance can expect to wait three months or longer before the SSA makes a decision on their claim. If you qualify for a compassionate allowance, you automatically qualify for benefits and will start receiving them shortly after you file your claim.

Claimants qualify for a compassionate allowance if they have colon cancer which has/is:

  • Inoperable
  • Distant Metastasis
  • Recurrent
  • Unresectable

If you qualify for a compassionate allowance, you will want to make sure that all of your medical documentation is included, that it is correct, and that you fill in all of the paperwork correctly.

Colon Cancer without a Compassionate Allowance Exception

Those who don’t qualify for a compassionate allowance may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. In order to qualify for disability benefits, your medical documentation will need to show that your condition makes it impossible for you to be involved in gainful activity (The Blue Book does have a listing of conditions under which you may be approved for benefits due to colon cancer, in section 13.18, but these conditions are identical with the conditions which qualify you for a compassionate allowance).

In determining whether you are capable of working, the Social Security Administration will consider all jobs you have performed in the last fifteen years. If they determine that you could do any of those jobs despite your condition, you will be denied benefits. They will also consider whether, given your level of education and training, there are any other jobs available anywhere in the country which you could do despite your colon cancer.

Medical Documentation to Prove Colon Cancer

When filing your claim, you will need to include all of the pertinent medical documentation. This includes your diagnosis and all treatments which you are undergoing. You will also need to detail all of the ways in which your colon cancer and its treatment hinder you from participating in work or other daily activities. You should also include information about any other physical or mental impairment you may have, as the SSA will look at the total effect of your disabling conditions when determining whether you are completely disabled.

Hiring Representation for Your Colon Cancer Claim

Most claimants find it helpful to work with a Social Security disability attorney. Even if you qualify for a compassionate allowance, it’s a good idea to have an attorney who is well versed in the Social Security system look over your claim to ensure that everything is in proper order. This will help prevent any delays in the approval of your benefits. Those who don’t qualify for a compassionate allowance will find an attorney invaluable in presenting the evidence for their disability. Social Security lawyers only collect when your benefits are awarded.

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