As with virtually every other type of cancer, pancreatic cancer can negatively influence work performance. Even in an era when remote workplaces have emerged as viable options for professionals, the impact of treating pancreatic cancer, as well as the debilitating nature of the disease, makes it almost impossible to function optimally in any type of work environment.
Pancreatic cancer is an especially tough disease because medical specialists seldom diagnose it during the early stage of development. It is not until the cancer has spread to adjacent organs that a diagnosis is made. Once pancreatic cancer reaches the intermediate stage of development, rigorous treatment regimens leave patients exhausted and unable to maintain proper cognitive functioning.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established two programs to help workers suffering from debilitating illnesses and diseases recover the money lost because of fewer hours on the job.
Overview of Social Security Disability Insurance
As one of two benefits programs managed by the SSA, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) allows workers negatively impacted by a disability to receive relief from financial duress. If you have received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, then you should apply for SSDI benefits as quickly as possible after the diagnosis. The SSDI application process can be long and at times frustrating for someone that is desperate to make financial ends meet. The good news is the SSA approves a majority of SSDI applications.
Resource that Determines Benefits Eligibility
The SSA refers to the Blue Book for determining eligibility for SSDI benefits. Most of the medical conditions listed in the Blue Book are designated as common ailments by the American Medical Association (AMA). The Blue book defines symptoms for each disease and injury listed in the SSA guide. Pancreatic cancer appears in section 13.20 of the Blue Book, with the section justifying an SSDI claim if the applicant has any form of pancreatic cancer besides Islet cell cancer or suffers from inoperable Islet cell carcinoma.
How Does the SSA Make SSDI Decisions?
Your SSDI application not only needs to be completely filled out with accurate information, you also should accompany the application with supporting documentation. Healthcare and vocational experts at the SSA meticulously review every SSDI application to determine whether enough evidence exists to support a claim. Having your doctor submit signed documents that confirm the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is a good start. Your physician should also send the SSA documents that describe in detail your treatment and rehabilitation programs.
Go Online to Apply for SSDI Benefits
You have three ways to apply for SSDI benefits: Snail mail, in person, or online. Unless you send an SSDI application by certified mail, you run the risk of your application getting lost or misplaced. Filing in person establishes the submission of an SSDI application, but it does not speed up the decision-making process. The quickest and easiest way to apply for SSDI benefits is by accessing the SSA website and navigating to the SSDI section. You simply hit the “Submit” button when you finish, and then you should receive a confirmation email.
Hire a Disability Attorney
The stakes are too high for you to make a mistake on your SSDI application. By working with a state licensed disability lawyer, you at least know your application presents the strongest case possible. Your attorney can also monitor the status of your application by placing a couple of phone calls. Most disability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, which they explain to clients during the free initial consultation.