Social Security Disability Claims based on Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with cancer you have a very good chance of winning Social Security Disability Insurance benefits provided you financially qualify for either SSDI or SSI. The Social Security Administration has instituted the Compassionate Allowance program. As of 2008 there is a list of medical impairments that are very serious impairments that permit a person to apply for Social Security Disability and be awarded within a matter of weeks based on the severity of their condition. Now of course it goes without saying that certain types of cancer are in the category for Compassionate Allowance. Those would include liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, cancer of the gall bladder and spinal cord cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with a cancer that does not fall in the Compassionate Allowance list category, there are many other types of cancer listed other than the ones discussed above so I encourage you to go to SSA.gov, Social Security’s website, to see what cancers qualify for expedited, immediate grant of benefits. If the type of cancer you have is not within that Compassionate Allowance list you still have a very good chance of winning a Social Security Disability; however it may take you up to two or three years.
For example, if you have breast cancer and it was recently diagnosed and you have several months ahead of you of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery Social Security is likely to wait for that twelve month period to see if after those treatments you are successfully in full remission. So unfortunately even though you may obviously not be able to work due to the extensive and disabling nature of the treatments themselves and the excessive absenteeism that the ongoing chemo, surgery and recovery will result in it is unlikely that if you have type of cancer that is curable and likely to go into remission Social Security’s going to make you wait for the full length of time that two years or so to have a hearing before a judge.
At that time, if you have survived the cancer and you are in full remission and have returned to the workforce then you can still ask for a period of closed disability benefits. That would mean as effective of your onset date when the cancer was diagnosed and you stopped working to the date you returned to full time working and recovered from the cancer enough sustain regular activity you could ask for those say two years of back benefits and in most cases you would be awarded those benefits.