Using an RFC When Applying for Benefits With Cancer

RFC stands for "Residual Functional Capacity." It is the most you can do with your physical or psychological disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates your RFC based on each individual case and medical records are evaluated too.

If there is any doubt, the SSA will ask one of their appointed doctors to perform a medical examination before a decision to award a disability benefit is complete. The sorts of activities that are assessed include ability to take part in physical activity, like sitting, lifting or standing. The RFC is typically assessed if your condition cannot be found in the Blue Book listing.

How to Use the RFC When You Have Cancer

Qualifying for disability benefits through an RFC with cancer is not always that simple. This is because the SSA grades cancer in terms of its severity. The type of cancer and the grading is found in the Blue Book listing.

If your cancer does not meet or doesn’t even closely match a listing, you will have to be able to prove that your cancer when treated the side effects or challenges you face are so severe that you are unable to do any type of job for at least twelve months.

If you have been diagnosed with lung cancer, your RFC should indicate the following:

  • how your breathing has been affected by the lung cancer;
  • whether you get tired during the day and need to rest often;
  • whether you can walk, carry or lift anything;
  • whether you can work if the air is contaminated with dust and fumes;
  • if you are suffering chronic side effects from radiation or chemotherapy and these side effects cause noticeable pain that stop you from working,

If you are over 60 years of age and you have been working as a roadman all your life and you now have lung cancer but it isn’t listed in the Blue Book you should be able to use the RFC to be eligible for disability benefits. This is because it is unlikely it would be possible to re-skill you in another job.

What Documents to Include With Your RFC For Cancer

If your cancer is not listed in the Blue Book and you are applying for disability benefits through your RFC, you will need to supply some evidence that supports your claim. This could include all of the following:

  • your cancer symptoms in written form, including a log showing how the symptoms have developed;
  • where the cancer is located including MRI scans and x-rays;
  • biopsy reports in detail complied by a medical specialist;
  • descriptions by your doctor of the treatment you have received;
  • the types of prescribed and over-the-counter medications you have been taking and their side-effects and the name of the physician who prescribed them;
  • the names and contact details of all the physicians who have treated you;
  • any post-operative reports regarding surgery to treat your cancer provided by the surgeon;
  • names, full addresses, dates of treatment at your medical facility;

In addition to your RFC report, the SSA may also ask you to fill in an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) report. This should describe how the cancer has influenced your ability to look after yourself. This includes enjoying life, also whether you need help with food shopping, cooking and day to day personal hygiene. There might be some activities like playing golf or going for a swim or walk that you now can no longer do due to your cancer.


SSDI or SSI Benefits for Cancer

The SSA typically has two different disability programs which cancer victims may be able to access. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available for workers who have accumulated sufficient work credits to qualify.

If you do not have enough work credits you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is available if you fall under specific household income levels.

You May Need Help With Your RFC For Cancer

Form filling and collecting evidence to support your RFC for eligibility for disability benefits is not easy at the best of times, let alone if you are suffering from the side effects of cancer. If you fail to provide sufficient evidence to support your SSDI or SSI claim your application may be denied. To help to avoid this outcome you should talk to a lawyer.

How To Get Help on Your Claim

Complete the Free Case Evaluation above to get in touch with an attorney that may be able to assist with your claim. An experienced disability lawyer will know how to file a claim to the SSA on your behalf. Your lawyer will ensure you have all the evidence required to win your disability claim.

Additional Resources

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