If you have cancer and you think you will be out of work for at least 12 months, and you gather supporting evidence to create a strong claim for disability benefits, then your claim may be approved. The process for applying for Social Security Disability benefits is complex, but with a cancer diagnosis and the right supporting documentation, you can be awarded benefits. Here are five signs for getting your disability claim approved:
1. You meet the non-medical requirements
If you have enough work credits, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). In most cases, that means you must have worked the equivalent of 5 years full-time out of the last 10 years. You will need to provide a detailed work history, and the SSA will review your taxes to see if you paid in enough Social Security taxes during the last several years.
2. You have sufficient medical evidence
Many disability claims are initially denied because there is a lack of medical evidence. If you have a lot of medical proof and supporting documentation, then you may increase your chances of having your disability claim approved. Hard medical evidence should confirm the diagnosis, show your treatment plan, detail your restrictions and limitations, and explain how your cancer will affect you mentally and physically. You will need to include surgical notes, pathology reports, scans and MRIs, and other medical records that detail your condition and prognosis.
3. You cannot work for at least 12 months
If you are unable to work for at least a year because of your cancer, you may have a chance is being approved for disability benefits. You must be unable to work for at least 12 months to qualify for disability benefits from the SSA. Those 12 months can include the time that you are undergoing treatment for your cancer.
4. Meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing
The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book. There is a section covering cancer, and the specific listing that you will lose is based on the kind of cancer that you have. The listing has specific criteria that must be met for the claim to qualify per the listing. Some kinds of cancer are automatically improved for disability benefits just with a confirmed diagnosis, such as brain cancer, gallbladder cancer, esophageal cancer, liver cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Other cancers that have spread into distant regions, that are unresectable, or that have returned after treatment will qualify per the Blue Book.
5. Working with a disability lawyer
If you can prove that your condition meets a Blue Book listing, you may be approved for disability benefits. If you cannot meet the criteria of a listing, you may qualify using a residual functional capacity (RFC) form completed by your physician. A disability attorney will help you through the claims process by gathering supporting evidence and documentation to support your claim.