Designated as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, September is an appropriate time for looking at the application process for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits after being diagnosed with this disease. Prostate cancer qualifies for SSD benefits under the standard “bluebook” definition of the disease. The “bluebook” is the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) manual for qualified disabilities. It contains definitions of the diseases that are generally considered disabling and is utilized by the staff at the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office to review claims for SSD benefits.
Disability Application with Prostate Cancer
The initial application for SSD benefits can be completed online or with a hardcopy form. To complete your application online, visit the SSA’s website. To obtain a hardcopy form, you can contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213, visit your local SSA office, or print forms from the SSA’s website. If you need help finding your local SSA office, visit our SSD Office Locator Page.
Ensure you complete all the necessary forms and that your application is as thorough as possible. Submitting as much medical documentation as you can along with your initial application can shorten your wait for a determination on your eligibility. Documentation should include all of your medical records and statements from your treating physician(s) as well. Any gaps in your documentation may result in delays as the SSA must contacts your physicians to obtain medical records and other information.
Qualifying for SSD with Prostate Cancer
In order to meet the SSA’s bluebook definition for a qualifying case of prostate cancer, you must either have recurrent or progressive cancer in spite of hormone therapy, or have cancer that has spread from the prostate to other internal organs. In addition to these condition-specific requirements, you must also meet the SSA’s standard eligibility guidelines. These include having a clearly defined and diagnosed condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or which is terminal, and that severely limits your ability to maintain gainful employment. You must also have sufficient work credits built up over the course of your employment during which you contributed to the SSD fund.
With an illness like prostate cancer, you should not only document the effects the disease has on you, but you should also include documentation in your application of what the required treatments for dealing with the disease do to you as well. Prostate cancer can prevent you from working, but the side effects of the required treatments can also reduce your ability to maintain gainful employment. Ensuring your application truly reflects your current abilities and overall condition is crucial to seeing a favorable determination on your eligibility for SSD benefits.
Assistance in Applying for Disability Benefits
When you apply for disability, you should work closely with your doctor to ensure your medical documentation meets the SSA’s bluebook definition and that it accurately reflects how the disease impacts your life and your ability to work. You may also want to consider seeking legal assistance from a Social Security Disability attorney familiar with handling applications filed with a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
An attorney can assist you in collecting the necessary documentation for supporting your claim and can review your initial application to ensure it’s as complete and thorough as possible. If you’re initially denied benefits, a lawyer can help you file an appeal and can help you prepare for the appeal hearing as well.