Tumor Awareness Month, Social Security Disability Benefits, and You

When people think about September, they have a tendency to think of Labor Day and the start of the school year. They’re much less likely to think about September as Tumor Awareness Month.

Tumors can be benign, but the most dangerous ones tend to be associated with cancer. Since over 38% of people will develop cancer in their lifetime, it may be surprising to think that Tumor Awareness Month isn’t more widely recognized and remembered. However, for many people who do already have some kind of tumor, they are all too aware of the dangers of tumors and the way that they can weigh on a person’s life. A cancerous tumor can leave a person weak and unable to work. This person could develop mountains of medical bills alongside their everyday needs, and it can become difficult to see how they can survive financially.

This is where Social Security disability benefits can come into play. If you have cancer and the disease or treatment has left you unable to work, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to file for Social Security disability benefits. These benefits will come to you monthly and help you continue to survive while you’re unable to work. Since tumor awareness month is upon us, it seems prudent to become more aware of tumors and how to survive financially while recovering from one.

Qualifying with a Tumor?

Tumor Awareness Month

Tumor Awareness Month is celebrated in September, and there are many cancer-related awareness campaigns that fall under the umbrella of Tumor Awareness Month. September is also the launchpad of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, and Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month.

The main way that an awareness month is celebrated is by promoting information about the condition at hand and encouraging people to get regular medical exams. This will hopefully give people a better chance of surviving their disease by giving them the tools and encouragement to catch their tumor early on when it’s easier to address.

One of the main organizations that promote information is the American Cancer Society. The ACS promotes information year-round, and it can be an excellent resource if you need help figuring out the next steps in handling your cancerous tumor.

How to Qualify for Tumors with the Blue Book

The Social Security Administration doesn’t have a specific guideline just for tumors; after all, tumors can certainly be benign. However, the SSA does offer some guidance on how to qualify with cancer.

To qualify for benefits, you’ll want to look at the SSA’s Blue Book, which provides the list of available conditions that will allow you to apply for disability benefits. There’s an entire section (13.00) on applying for benefits with malignant adult cancer. This is probably the section that would be most relevant to you if you plan on applying for benefits with a tumor; benign tumors won’t allow you to qualify unless their placement keeps you from being able to ambulate effectively and work.

Section 13.00 is very specific about the criteria that go into deciding whether you can qualify for cancer. Specifically, the Blue Book states that the SSA will examine the following: “origin of the cancer; extent of involvement; duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy; and effects of any post-therapeutic residuals.”

This sounds like a lot to take in, but it comes down to this: the SSA wants evidence that supports the idea that your cancerous tumor and the treatment for it will keep you from being able to find gainful employment based on your medical status and your work experience.

How a Social Security Attorney or Advocate Could Help You Qualify

There are many different forms of evidence that you can use to support your claim. Medical documents are a crucial component of a successful claim. These can come in the form of x-rays, medical imaging, doctor’s notes, physicals, prescriptions, and more. Make sure that you have as many documents as possible to support your narrative.

That’s just the first part. Then you have to actually file the claim, and while this is theoretically the most straightforward part, doing the application properly can be difficult. Unfortunately, people are often denied the first time that they apply--unless they have a Social Security disability attorney.

Having a professional help you with the application and represent you in court can make it easier for you to apply for benefits, and it isn’t just because you have an expert on the side. Handing the reigns to a lawyer will let you focus on your health rather than paperwork, and it will increase your chance of having a successful claim.

If you have a tumor that’s left you unable to work, be sure to check out the information that organizations are putting out during Tumor Awareness Month. But perhaps just as importantly, contact a Social Security disability attorney to get started on your claim for monthly benefits so that you can spend more time focusing on recovering.