Colorectal cancer encompasses any cancer that affects the colon and rectum. It’s also known as bowel cancer, colon cancer or rectal cancer. When diagnosed early, before it spreads to other areas, the survival rate is over 90%. However, the first step is early detection.
Why an Awareness Month For Colorectal Cancer?
Colorectal cancer is a disease that will impact 1 in 21 men and 1 in 23 women in their lifetime. It’s a disease that carries a great deal of stigma, which makes testing and early detection a challenge for many people. That’s what makes National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month so important.
By educating the public about the signs and symptoms of colorectal cancer, along with providing information about the screening process, the hope is that more people will be tested so that the disease could be detected early on.
How Can Someone Who Has Colorectal Cancer Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration is the agency that evaluates disability claims. In order to evaluate each claim they utilize a comprehensive guide to medical conditions, commonly referred to as the Blue Book, to compare diagnoses with guidelines to determine eligibility to receive disability benefits.
The entry for colorectal cancer is listed in section 13.00 of the Blue Book, specifically section 13.18, which deals with the large intestine. This covers everything from the ileocecal valve to the anal canal. You might qualify for disability benefits if your colorectal cancer includes any of the following:
- Adenocarcinoma that is inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the anus, recurrent after surgery
- Metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes
- Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma
If your colorectal cancer doesn’t meet these guidelines, you should still apply for disability benefits because there are other ways you might qualify.
What If I Don’t Meet or Match the Blue Book Listing For Colorectal Cancer?
In some cases, your diagnosis might not line up with Blue Book guidelines, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify for disability benefits. In many cases, a medical-vocational allowance might be more appropriate for your condition.
The medical-vocational allowance takes into consideration your education, work history and experience and your residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine whether or not you are able to work in any position, not just your current job.
The RFC is a measurement of the maximum amount of work you are capable of performing given your condition. The evaluation includes an examination of your ability to perform physical and mental work, including standing, sitting, walking, communicating, following instructions and motor skills, among other things.
If you are not capable of performing these tasks, then you might qualify for disability under the medical-vocational allowance.
How Do I Start the Disability Application Process for Colorectal Cancer?
If you have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer you should start the application for disability benefits right away. To apply, you will need to gather a great deal of medical documentation to support your diagnosis, and that can be a challenge. You need to document everything, from your diagnosis to your treatment and any side effects that might keep you from being able to work.
You might consider hiring a Social Security disability attorney to help you through the application process. Though working with a lawyer won’t guarantee that your claim is approved, having an expert available to advocate on your behalf is definitely helpful. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation today to have the details of your claim looked over by a disability lawyer that takes cases in your area.