Having cancer can be an isolating experience. However, certain cancers can leave you feeling particularly alone when they aren’t aren’t as widely discussed. If you have male breast cancer, you may have felt those feelings of isolation; having those feelings on top of attempting to recover from your illness can feel exhausting.
If you add the pressures of not being able to work, it can be downright unbearable.
You do have options for relief. If male breast cancer has left you unable to work, then consider applying for Social Security disability benefits.
Those benefits can give you some financial stability and allow you to focus on recovering from your condition.
Male Breast Cancer Blue Book Listing
In order to disperse the appropriate benefits, the Social Security Administration first has to decide who qualifies. The SSA has created certain guidelines in order to determine this, and they are listed in a publication known as the Blue Book.
Basically, the Blue Book is the list of conditions that allow a person to qualify for SSD benefits. If you want to know whether you might qualify for SSD benefits, the first step is seeing whether you have a condition that fits in the Blue Book.
Section 13.00 covers cancer, and 13.10 covers breast cancer. Although it doesn’t specifically say “male breast cancer,” the entry is meant to cover breast cancer for all genders.
According to the Blue Book, you could qualify if your case of breast cancer meets any of the following criteria:
- Any cancer that is locally advanced in your chest wall or skin
- Cancer that has advanced some distance beyond its original site, including your infraclavicular or supraclavicular nodes
- Cancer that keeps coming back, except for local cancer that goes away with treatment
- Oat cell (i.e., small-cell) cancer
- Swelling of your lymph nodes as a result of cancer treatment that has also been treated by surgery. Please note that you can get benefits for at least one year after your surgery that was meant to treat the lymph node swelling.
The Blue Book offers a number of options for qualifying for male breast cancer. If you or your physician has determined that your male breast cancer meets at least one of these criteria, then your next step should be to gather all relevant medical documents.
These documents can include doctor’s notes, prescription lists, x-rays, and MRI/CT scans. Compile whatever you need to show how severe your cancer is.
These documents will serve as the backbone for your Social Security disability application. The more documentation you have supporting your claim, the greater the likelihood that you’ll get the benefits you need.
Social Security disability benefits can be life-changing, and anyone that has the documentation to prove that their disability is keeping them from working should apply.
However, since so many people have conditions that keep them from working, this means that there are many applications. As a result, you can end up waiting over a year for a disability hearing, and you probably need the benefits as soon as possible.
The Compassionate Allowance Initiative was created to address this issue. Like the Blue Book, the compassionate allowances program has a list of conditions that allow you to apply for benefits.
The big difference is that you can get expedited benefits by applying through this program, and if your cancer is particularly aggressive, that may be just what you need.
You can qualify for a compassionate allowance if your case of male breast cancer is:
- Recurrent in spite of anti-cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
- Spreading to other organs
Like the application for SSD benefits, you’ll need supporting evidence for your condition. But if you’re approved, you’ll get the benefits you need much faster. For example, you could include a doctor’s note that says that your cancer is recurrent and/or inoperable, and/or biopsies or scans that show that it is spreading to other organs.
How an Attorney Can Help
Your cancer may have taken away your ability to work, but that doesn’t mean it has to take away your financial stability. Social Security disability benefits exist precisely for situations like this; don’t wait or hesitate to apply.
The sooner you apply, the sooner you can start getting the benefits you need to improve your quality of life.
The best way to ensure that this happens is by hiring an SSD attorney to help you prepare your application and represent you in court.
This attorney will work tirelessly on your behalf to help you and your case and ultimately secure you some much-deserved peace of mind.