Diagnosed with cancer: Can I get disability benefits?

Diagnosed with cancer: Can I get disability benefits?

| Nov 17, 2020 | Social Security Disability

On average, roughly one million people are diagnosed with some type of cancer each year. Regardless of how common this disease is, a diagnosis can be devastating and debilitating for you and your whole family.

Getting treatment – and recovering from any adverse effects from such treatment – might keep you out of work for some time. This can leave you wondering: is it possible to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits?

Benefits are available, but obtaining them can be complex

In this situation, there are three critical things to note:

  1. Cancer is a covered condition: Most cancers are included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) list of impairments covered by disability benefits.
  2. Every situation is still distinct: Even though the SSA includes cancers on the list of covered disabilities, how cancer affects someone varies from person to person. Therefore, the SSA will still need extensive information and evidence of your individual diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and medical history. This is one reason why it is essential for individuals to keep a clear record of their symptoms and medical treatment, so they can provide this necessary evidence.
  3. You must still qualify: On top of that, you must still ensure you qualify to apply for and receive SSDI benefits. This includes making sure your condition meets the SSA’s definition of a disability, having enough work credits and being unable to work.

Individuals can qualify to collect SSDI benefits if they receive a cancer diagnosis, but these three factors demonstrate just how complicated this process can be.

And there is still a chance of denial

Even if you ensure you qualify for benefits and meet all of the requirements, it is still a possibility that you could face a denial.

Unfortunately, it is common for the SSA to deny your first application for benefits. There are several reasons for this, but you should not take this as a failure. You deserve benefits to help you through this tough time, and you can appeal the denial to make sure you obtain those benefits.