Tips on Applying for Disability with Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can vary greatly in terms of severity, and is generally divided into three main types: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and the most common form, Melanoma. With early diagnosis and treatment, most skin cancer is curable, but this disease can cause pain, nausea, and fatigue.


Medical Evidence

If you suffer from skin cancer, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are three options to prove to the SSA that you qualify as disabled:

  • You meet the SSA’s requirements for disability due to skin cancer
  • Your skin cancer causes you to meet the SSA’s requirements for an equal disease
  • You are not reasonably able to work any job

Meeting the SSA’s requirements for skin cancer is arguably the easiest option in terms of proving eligibility for disability benefits. To prove this, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have skin cancer that has spread from where it originated
  • You have Melanoma that returns after the original cancer was treated or removed
  • You have Melanoma that has spread to other areas of your body

To prove that you meet one of these requirements, it is helpful to provide accurate and thorough medical records, including any biopsies, which are tests on your skin tissue, as well as information about the length, type, and results of any treatments.

If you do not meet any of the listed requirements for skin cancer exactly, you can prove to the SSA that the effects and limitations caused by your skin cancer equal the requirements of another disease that the SSA views as equal to skin cancer.

Non-Medical Evidence

If you do not meet the requirements for skin cancer or an equal disease, you may still be able to prove to the SSA that you are eligible for disability benefits by proving that you are unable to work any possible job.

Usually, less advanced skin cancer will respond well to treatment and have a minimal effect on your ability to work. However, if your cancer treatment lasts more than twelve months, the side effects may affect your ability to reasonably perform any job duties. Common side effects due to skin cancer treatment, such as from chemotherapy or radiation, include:

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Decreased memory
  • Decreased feeling in your fingers and toes

Since skin cancer could likely return after your first occurrence, it is extremely important to limit any time in the sun and protect your skin. This means that working outdoors is not ideal. If you are of a certain age and have only worked previous jobs that require you to be outdoors, the SSA will take this into account when determining your disability eligibility. 

Additional Resources 

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