Tips on Applying for Social Security Benefits with Colon Cancer

Colon cancer, one of the most common types of cancer for both men and women, affects the large intestine. Also called colorectal cancer, it can be found in the lower part of the digestive system as well as the rectum and anus.

Medical Evidence

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will look at a number of factors to determine if your colon cancer qualifies you to receive disability benefits. If you show evidence of certain digestive disability symptoms, you may be automatically approved:

  • Your cancer forms in the linings of your intestines and either cannot be treated by surgery, cannot be fully removed with surgery, or returns after remission
  • Your cancer forms in the anus and returns after you’ve had surgery
  • Your cancer spreads to the lymph nodes surrounding your tumor

Non-Medical Evidence

If you do not automatically qualify for disability due to your colon cancer, you may still be able to get approval. If your cancer was successfully removed and resulted in a colostomy bag, you usually are not approved for benefits because the SSA doesn’t see a colostomy bag as a disability that gets in the way of your job performance. But there are instances where your colostomy bag may result in your approval for benefits:

  • If your job requires heavy lifting, you could damage the area where the bag is connected to your body
  • If your job is in an environment that is hot, humid, or loud, these conditions could potentially break the seal on the bag

Besides this, you can provide the SSA with a Residual Functional Assessment (RFC) prepared by the doctor treating your colon cancer. The RFC should include blood work, scans, test results, reports, and any other medical evidence that further proves your inability to work.

The SSA will take all of this information into account and determine if you are still able to work at your current or past job, or any other job. If they don’t find any work you are reasonably able to perform, you may be approved for disability benefits.