After the shock of a liver cancer diagnosis diminishes, you might wonder how you are going to pay your bills with most, if not all of your wages gone.
You have a hard time at work not only because of the pain caused by cancer, but also by nausea that is the result of radiation treatments. How can you pay off your medical bills, with no income to support you?
The answer is Social Security disability benefits.
Managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability benefits help workers remain afloat financially while fighting against a disease like liver cancer.
Since the SSA denies a majority of disability claims, let’s review the five signs your claim for disability benefits may be approved with liver cancer.
Earn Enough Work Credits
The SSA requires applicants for Social Security disability benefits to earn enough work credits. For 2021, workers earned one work credit for every $1,470 generated in income.
This means that if you generated $11,760 in wages in 2021, you earned eight work credits. The number of work credits that you need to qualify for disability benefits depends on how old you were when you received a diagnosis of liver cancer.
Before the start of each year, SSA adjusts the amount of money you need to generate to earn one work credit.
Submit Compelling Medical Records
A team of medical examiners from the SSA reviews medical documents to determine eligibility for financial assistance.
For liver cancer, the result of diagnostic tests can persuade the SSA to get your disability benefits approved for liver cancer.
A series of blood tests taken over the course of several weeks can demonstrate how the cancer has spread and/or how large the tumors have grown. Your oncologist might also rely on imaging tests, such as MRIs and CT scans, to detect the presence of cancerous tumors.
Missed Work Requirement
If liver cancer has forced you to miss work, you have to miss 12 consecutive months to receive disability benefits. Because cancer can go into remission, achieving the 12-month milestone might be difficult to do.
Remember the SSA requires 12 consecutive months of missed work, not three months in a row followed by a month of work followed by nine consecutive months of missed work. Your employer needs to hand over your time records to prove you have not worked for 12 consecutive months.
Meet the Blue Book Listing for Liver Cancer
To determine who qualifies for Social Security disability benefits, the SSA refers to a medical guide called the Blue Book.
Liver cancer lists under Section 13.00 of the Blue Book, but you also need to meet the standards of severity for liver cancer.
Chronic fatigue is a common severe symptom of liver cancer because of the disease itself and the negative health effects of undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Rapid swelling of the abdominal area is also considered a severe symptom of liver cancer.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation
Before you submit a claim for disability benefits, schedule a free case evaluation with a Social Security attorney.
Your lawyer is there to help you gather and organize the medical records you need to convince the SSA to approve your claim.
Working with a Social Security attorney is also beneficial because your legal counsel monitors the progress of your claim. If your claim comes back denied by the SSA, your lawyer can help prepare the paperwork that is required for an appeal for reconsideration.