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Is cancer a qualifying disability for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2022 | Social Security Disability

For an adult to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, their medical condition typically needs to meet two specific standards. The first is that it must be so severe that it prevents them from any sort of gainful employment. The second is that the condition must last for 12 months or longer. Short-term disabilities do not qualify for SSDI benefits.

As someone adjusting to a recent diagnosis of cancer, you likely face months of aggressive treatment. The cancer itself could limit your ability to work and take care of your home. Can you potentially qualify for SSDI benefits because of cancer?

Yes, the SSA does approve benefits for cancer patients

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a list of medical conditions that are likely to qualify someone for benefits. Numerous kinds of cancer are among common qualifying conditions, and many others meet the basic guidelines established for evaluating conditions.

Especially when the cancer is likely to prove fatal, the SSA may approve benefits for someone who can no longer work because of the cancer itself or the impact of their treatment. However, getting benefits can be more of a challenge for someone who will recover from the cancer.

If your doctor believes that you will achieve remission, you may have a harder time securing benefits.

What is necessary for cancer patients to make a claim?

Patients with cancer who have a poor prognosis may qualify for fast-track consideration or a compassionate allowance program. Those with a better prognosis may need more documentation if they hope to get SSDI benefits.

It is common for those with treatable cancer to be back at work in under a year. To secure benefits, you will need to show that the treatment regimen will last longer than 12 months and that the symptoms caused either by your treatment or the cancer itself will prevent you from working until you finish the treatment plan. The more extensive the care you require will be and the longer it will take to complete, the better your chances of qualifying for benefits.

Gathering the necessary medical records and learning more about SSA policies can help those who want to apply for SSDI benefits after a cancer diagnosis.


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