A Guide to Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security disability application process can seem like a confusing and daunting task. Applying while battling cancer can seem even more challenging. You need to meet a Blue Book listing, qualify financially or have enough work credits. It can be confusing to figure out if you are eligible or to then prove you are eligible.

Once you are approved for disability benefits, you can use your benefits to help cover costs of daily living needs. This includes things like medication, rent, utilities, doctor's visits, and more.

The following guide can help you navigate cancer and Social Security disability benefits.

Working After a Cancer Diagnosis

Depending on the type of cancer and/or your treatments, you will likely be unable to work after your diagnosis. If you cannot work for at least one year, then you may be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

Learn more about working with cancer.

Using the Blue Book

If you are unable to work due to cancer, you may be eligible for benefits. When applying, you'll need to meet a listing in the SSA's Blue Book. There is a whole section in the Blue Book dedicated to cancer, explaining how different forms qualify for benefits and what medical evidence is needed to show your eligibility.

Find out more on using the Blue Book for your cancer disability claim.

Applying For Cancer When You're Over 50

Those over 50 may have a slight advantage when applying for benefits. This is because as someone applies for disability benefits over age 50, the SSA may use "grid rules" when evaluating their claim. These can help those that do not meet a Blue Book listing for cancer, but are still unable to work qualify for benefits.

Learn more on grid rules and qualifying for disability benefits with cancer over 50.

Applying For Disability Benefits With Cancer

When you're applying for benefits with cancer, you'll need to provide medical proof that you meet the Blue Book. You'll also need to provide documentation of your income and work history. Once you've gathered this information, you can apply online, in person at an SSA office or over the phone.

Find out more about how to apply for benefits with cancer as well as some tips on applying with cancer.

Assisting a Cancer Patient Apply as a Caregiver

Though caregivers themselves are not eligible for disability benefits, they can help their patients or loved ones battling cancer apply for benefits. You can help determine a loved one's eligibility, fill out the application on their behalf and even help manage their benefits after approval.

See our resource on how caregivers can help cancer patients apply for disability benefits.

Determining How Much Your Benefits May Be With Cancer

When determining what your monthly benefit may be, there are different factors that the SSA will take into consideration. Things like your age, your earnings history, cost of living, etc. will be used to determine your benefit amount. You may also qualify for back pay or retroactive payments.

Find out more on determining your monthly benefit with cancer.

Having a Successful Cancer Claim

While applying for Social Security disability benefits with cancer, there are ways to have a successful claim. This includes both meeting the Blue Book and qualifying without meeting a listing. Making sure you provide enough evidence to back your claim can help increase the chances of a successful cancer claim.

Check out how to have a successful cancer claim for more information.