Cancer is a group of diseases that involve normal cell growth and has the potential to spread to or invade other body parts. Cancer can invade virtually every part of the body - the breasts, prostate, skin, colon, bones, lungs, or so forth. Cancer is a group of 100 different diseases. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 439.2 new instances of cancer per 100,000 men and women every year.
While cancer is very treatable in its early stages, the treatments can lead to illness that leaves an individual unable to work. Regardless of whether the cancer itself or the plan of treatment leaves you unable to work, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What Happens If You Can’t Work Due To Cancer?
If you have been suffering from a type of cancer, you may no longer be able to work. Even treatment for cancer can have its own setbacks and this alone can make it impossible to continue working.
Whether you have been working for many years or none at all, you may be able to obtain federal disability benefits if you apply for them. The Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses your ability to keep working after developing a disability and is responsible for approving disability benefit payments through either the social security disability insurance (SSDI) or the supplemental security income (SSI) programs.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, and either cannot work for at least the next 12 months while receiving treatment or you have been told that your cancer is terminal, these are criteria that may mean you are able to have your disability benefits application approved.
SSDI benefits are available if you fit the exacting criteria set by the SSA and have sufficient work credits accumulated because of your work history and contributions to social security insurance through payroll tax. SSI benefits may be available if you do not have sufficient work credits but your assets and income are below a threshold established by the SSA.
In addition to disability benefits payable through the SSA, there are other possible ways that you could obtain payments if you have been diagnosed with cancer. These include:
- workers’ compensation if your cancer was proven to have developed because of your workplace environment;
- family leave payments through the FMLA scheme;
- short term disability benefits if your employer has disability insurance;
- long term disability benefits which are usually designed to cover you until retirement.
You can apply for SSDI if you can’t work for at least 12 months or have a terminal diagnosis. There are other options as well:
- Can file for medical leave (FMLA)
- Long-term disability income
- Short-term disability income
How Cancer Affects Your Physical Capacity To Work
Often, cancer requires surgical intervention. The surgery can limit your ability to lift, bend, reach, squat, and stretch for a while. You may have to undergo extensive physical therapy and rehabilitation to regain your strength and flexibility so you can return to your regular activities. Cancer treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy, often leads to fatigue, weakness, malaise, nausea, and other symptoms that prevent the patient from being able to work.
How Cancer Affects Your Mental Capacity To Work
A cancer diagnosis can be stressful. It can lead to anxiety, depression and mental anguish, which can affect one’s ability to focus and concentrate. This can affect one’s ability to perform his or her regular work duties and can limit his or her ability to work with others. He or she may be more withdrawn and social skills may be affected.
The treatment regimen for cancer can also negatively affect one’s mental capacity. Radiation and chemotherapy can lead to fatigue that affects one’s ability to think clearly. It can lead to confusion, the inability to concentrate, and forgetfulness.
It can negatively affect one’s ability to work. After the treatments have finished, it can take several months for a patient’s mental functioning to return to normal. While undergoing treatments, it may be impossible for the patient to even perform sedentary tasks, which are the lightest duty of work.
It can be very difficult for someone with cancer to stay focused for long periods, or to stay in one position for long. Performing repetitive tasks and using fine motor skills may become impossible. If your condition meets the Blue Book criteria for cancer, your claim will be approved. You can also be approved for benefits when you can prove that your condition and its symptoms are equivalent to the symptoms of some other condition that is recognized by the SSA Blue Book.
Cancer and Applying For Social Security Disability
There is a listing for cancer in the Blue Book. This means that if your cancer and its symptoms meet those criteria, your claim will be approved. If your side effects and symptoms meet the criteria of another listing, you can be approved using that approach.
Complete the form to request a Free Case Evaluation today to get your disability claim for cancer underway and reviewed by a disability advocate or attorney. Working with a lawyer means working with a legal professional that will be well-versed in what is needed for a claim to get approved.