If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, one of the last things on your mind should be making ends meet financially. Unfortunately, not all cancer diagnoses will automatically qualify. One of the most common reasons for denial is lack of medical evidence.
The SSA uses its own medical guide, known as the Blue Book, to determine if your cancer is severe enough to warrant benefits. If your disability claim was denied, here are just a few of the test results or evaluations specifically outlines in the Blue Book that you’ll need to qualify for disability benefits.
General Evidence Regarding Your Cancer
The first type of medical evidence the Blue Book directly requests is medical history of what type of cancer you have, the extent to which it has spread or grown, whether or not it’s returned despite treatment, and where your cancer originated.
Without basic records of your unique diagnosis, it will be impossible to “match” your illness to a qualifying condition in the Blue Book. So long as you’ve been seeing a cancer specialist, it’ll be almost certain that you have basic cancer medical evidence.
Operational Notes & Pathology Reports
If you have had any type of operation to treat your cancer or pathology reports performed to diagnose what type of cancer you have, you’ll need evidence documenting your oncologists’ findings and proving disability from cancer.
The Blue Book notes that if the SSA is unable to find the exact surgical history, your oncologists’ notes and summaries of what was found at the time will suffice. This is why it’s extremely important for you to discuss what medical evidence is available with your oncologist before applying!
Types of Treatment
Not all cancers are treated the same. Prostate cancer is typically treated with oral medication, while more aggressive cancers may be immediately treated with chemotherapy.
You specific treatment and your cancer’s response to treatment will go a long way in getting your claim approved for disability benefits. The Blue Book explicitly states that the SSA usually cannot make a decision regarding your claim unless you treatment has been completed. Exceptions to this rule would of course include cancers that are so advanced they’re untreatable.
Side Effects From Treatment
The Blue Book notes that not every cancer applicant will meet a specific qualifying condition’s listing, but you may be unable to work regardless. The SSA will want detailed evidence regarding any medication you’re taking while undergoing cancer therapies, and how you respond to treatment.
Some information needed includes, but is not limited to:
- Drugs you’ve been given, and how much
- How often you require medication
- Your plan for continuing medication
- Your chemotherapy or radiation schedule
- Any complications, like weakness, neurological complications, heart problems, or intellectual problems.
Information on your reactions to drugs and your treatment side effect is important to the SSA because not every cancer will meet a Blue Book listing. So long as you can prove that you’re still too ill to work because your cancer is disabling and it will persist for at least one year, you might still qualify if you pursue the claim further.
Fighting For Your Claim
If you haven’t applied yet, or have applied and were denied, remember that medical evidence listed in the Blue Book is arguably the most important factor in your Social Security disability claim for cancer.
The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the cancer listing with your oncologist to determine what medical records you have on hand, and what may need to be supplemented in order to be approved.
It’s possible that your oncologist can write a summary of your condition to help bolster your claim and improve your chances of approval.
A Social Security disability attorney or advocate can also go a long way in ensuring your claim for disability with cancer is approved. consider a free evaluation with a Social Security advocate or attorney in your area today—Disability lawyers are only paid if you win your cancer claim.