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Social Security benefits for cancer

Were one to ask people in Scranton what they believe would be the typical person to receive Social Security Disability Benefits, the most typical answer might be one who has suffered a severe injury. Illness, on the other hand, might not be viewed as a common cause of disability because many believe it to be possible to remain working while dealing with sickness. Yet illnesses and disorders have been recognized as being one of the primary causes of people seeking disability benefits. Indeed, the National Institute of Mental Health lists cancer as being the third most common cause of disability in the U.S. 

The Social Security Administration does indeed include cancer among its list of disabling conditions. However, certain criteria must first be met before one can qualify for disability benefits due to this disease. As is the case with all disabling conditions, one must prove that cancer (and the effects of its treatment) have prevented them from being able to work for at least 12 months (or are predicted to keep them from working for that same period of time). For cancer patients, if the length of time healthcare professionals believe the condition may be disabling is not specified, the SSA may continue to offer benefits up the three years from the date of remission. 

When seeking disability benefits for cancer, one must provide the SSA with medical evidence containing the following details: 

  • The type of cancer
  • Its extent in the body 
  • The site of the primary, recurrent or metastatic lesion

If one has undergone operative procedures to confirm their cancer diagnosis, the SSA requires that the operative and pathology reports from those procedures also be submitted. If one does not have access to those particular records, a summary of their cancer-related hospitalizations may suffice.