With advanced or recurrent prostate cancer, disability approval is automatic. Highly aggressive forms of the disease, like oat cell carcinoma, are quickly approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as well.
When the disease is caught early and can be successfully treated though, benefit approval may be more challenging but is still possible, particularly for men who experience severe residual impairments cancer and the required treatments. These individuals may qualify for benefits, even when they don’t SSA’s standard prostate cancer disability requirements.
What Impairments Prevent Employment?
The frequent urge to urinate is a common first sign of prostate problems. Cancer, even in its early stages, can lead to constant bathroom breaks, something not practical when on the job.
Pain, weakness, and stiffness in the back, hips, thighs, and pelvic area can make sitting, standing, walking, climbing, and other activities difficult or impossible, essentially getting in the way of nearly every normal task required in physically active as well as sedentary jobs.
When undergoing hormone therapy or chemo and radiation, side effects become a major impediment to gainful employment. These treatments only last so long however, and if successful, many men are able to go back to work without significant issues.
Long-term and permanent residual impairments that come from prostate cancer and treatment however may have left you unable to accomplish many essential job duties. These impairments virtually destroy your employment options.
When this is the case, approval for disability under a medical vocational allowance may be possible after the SSA looks at how compromised you are functionally.
What Records do You Need, and do You have Them?
Your disability application must contain specific medical records before SSA approval is granted. These records include test results, documenting the diagnosis of your prostate cancer, like digital rectal exam (DRE) notes and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) results.
Treatment records, including surgical reports and anti-cancer regimens, are important as well and explain how you responded to treatment, including any residual impairments you’ve developed that affect your ability to work.
The SSA uses standard disability listings to evaluate eligibility. For automatic qualification, your medical records must show you’re a match to the prostate cancer listing. When your records don’t match this listing precisely, the SSA will conduct other reviews, including looking at your residual functional capacity (RFC). If you must be approved via an RFC, then the residual effects of your cancer and cancer treatments must be well documented within your medical history.
Steps to Take before Starting Your Application
A disability benefit application pulls together details from all aspects of your life. These include not just medical history information but employment, financial, and education and training details too.
A recent tax return and old pay stubs offer important financial facts, and bank statements will be necessary too. You’ll need the contact information for former employers and all of your medical care providers and information on former job duties as well as any formal education and training you’ve undergone.
You’ll want your records handy before beginning your application, but you’ll also want to ensure your doctor and possibly a disability attorney or advocate are on board too.
Your doctor will be a partner throughout the application and review processes, communicating with the SSA as needed and providing access to medical records. A disability lawyer may assist you from start to finish. He or she can advise you on filing your claim and can handle your case even if you’re denied initially and must file an appeal.