How Caregivers Can Help Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits With Cancer

If you are the caregiver for a friend or relative who suffers from cancer, you can apply for disability benefits for them through the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA administers two different disability programs, and your loved one may qualify for benefits from either one or both programs. After approval, your loved one will receive backpay as well as ongoing monthly benefits to cover medical expenses, the cost of living, and associated costs.

How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits

To determine if an individual is disabled and qualifies for disability benefits, the SSA will review the application and medical records to determine if an individual meets the criteria of a listing in the medical guide, which is called the Blue Book. To help your loved one with their disability claim, you can compare his or her condition with a listing that is equivalent to his or her condition. The qualification varies depending on the definitive diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms.

The Blue Book Listing For some claimants being approved for disability benefits can be straightforward and fast. If you have an aggressive cancer, such as thyroid cancer, mesothelioma, pancreatic, liver, or esophageal cancer, just confirmation of the diagnosis is adequate. You will have to show that your cancer meets the criteria for the disability listing for that specific kind of cancer or that the symptoms of your cancer are so limiting that you are unable to work.

Cancers that have been determined to be inoperable or unresectable with surgery, that have undergone treatment then recurred, or that has metastasized and spread into other places qualify for disability benefits. You will need to provide hard medical evidence including test results, physician notes, surgical details, and treatment records to have a successful disability claim for cancer.

How Caregivers Can Help Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits With Cancer

Becoming A Designated Payee

If you are the caregiver for someone who is disabled because of cancer, you can be the manager of their monthly disability benefits. The SSA makes payments electronically, so you will need access to the bank account of the claimant. Disability benefits can be used to cover necessary living expenses, such as medical care, prescriptions, utilities, rent, and to buy groceries. You should keep all the receipts because the SSA can conduct an inquiry to make sure that all the benefits were properly spent and used for the claimant.

How To Get Your Loved One’s Disability Application Underway

If you are the caregiver of a disabled individual with cancer, you can get an application for disability benefits underway for them. Unless you have power or attorney or are the legal guardian, the claimant must sign some of the documents. You can apply at, call 1-800-772-1213, or visit a local SSA field office.

Return to A Guide to Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits.

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