April is esophageal cancer awareness month. Even though esophageal cancer is considered to be a rare cancer it affects almost 4 in every 100,000 people. If you have esophageal cancer and can’t work any longer you can apply for Social Security disability benefits.
The money from disability benefits can help you pay for living expenses like housing, food, and utilities or for medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance. If you have worked before but can’t work now and you expect that you won’t be able to work for at least a year you can apply for disability benefits.
What is Esophageal Cancer?
Esophageal cancer is cancer in the lining of the esophagus. It can be either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma. Typically squamous cell carcinoma is cancer that is found in the upper esophagus and adenocarcinoma is cancer found in the lower part of the esophagus. But esophageal cancer can spread from the initial site of development through the esophagus and throughout the body.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Weight loss without trying
- Chest pain, pressure or burning
- Worsening indigestion or heartburn
- Coughing or hoarseness
Save all of your medical records, tests, and doctor’s notes from your treatment. You should include them with your application for Social Security disability benefits.
How Does Esophageal Cancer Qualify For Disability Benefits?
Anytime someone applies for Social Security disability benefits they must show a letter of diagnosis for a condition that is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book and medical documentation that they meet the medical requirements in that listing. The Blue Book listing for esophageal cancer states that in order to qualify for disability benefits your cancer must be:
Carcinoma or sarcoma of the esophagus
Carcinoma or sarcoma of the stomach, as described in 1 or 2:
- Inoperable, unresectable, extending to surrounding structures, or recurrent
- With metastases to or beyond the regional lymph nodes
Small-cell (oat cell) carcinoma
Some of the medical records that you need to include with your application are a letter of diagnosis of esophageal cancer and also:
- An esophagoscopy with visualization of the cancer and biopsy
- Barium swallow (esophagram)
- CT scan of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis
- PET scan
- Bone scan
Any other relevant medical records and supporting documents explaining why you can’t work because of the cancer or the treatment that you’re undergoing should be included with your application. You should really talk to an attorney that specializes in disability cases to make sure that you have included the right documentation. If you don’t have the right medical evidence, it could delay the processing of your application.
Get Help With Your Disability Claim
If you’re fighting esophageal cancer you shouldn’t have to be worried about how you’re going to pay your rent or mortgage or buy food. Apply for Social Security disability benefits so that you will have money coming in to help with expenses while you are sick and can’t work.
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