Cancer can make it very difficult to keep working. Even if the disease doesn’t itself isn’t limiting you, the treatments can be difficult and drain your ability to function normally.
A cancer diagnosis may qualify you for Social Security Disability benefits, but approval is far from automatic (with very few exceptions) unless your case is terminal.
To see if you qualify for benefits, the Social Security Administration looks at factors such as how far your cancer has progressed, the way the disease responds to anticancer therapy, and the post-therapeutic effects on your body.
To seek disability benefits, you will need to provide the SSA with medical evidence that clarifies the type, location and extent of the cancer. You will also need to provide copies of operative notes, pathology reports and other medical documents that describe the cancer and how it is affecting you.
The SSA doesn’t just ask for basic information about your illness. They may request information on your treatments and the effects that they have on you. They need to know how long this illness is expected to affect you and if there is a potential for it to be a terminal.
Cancers vary significantly, so it may be a good idea to read over the SSA’s requirements and discuss them with your attorney, especially if you have already had your initial application for benefits denied. Keep in mind, however, that you can qualify for benefits even if you don’t exactly meet the listed requirements for a specific condition. SSA will look at everything that causes you limitations, including the side-effects of your disease, such as fatigue, pain and depression.
Talking with an experienced advocate is smart. They can help you prepare your appeal and explain to SSA exactly why your condition is so disabling.