Cancer, although always serious, only meets the severity level requirements for disability approval under certain circumstances. Thyroid cancer must be aggressive or metastatic before it automatically qualifies.
When residual impairments result from your cancer or cancer treatments, the Social Security Administration (SSA) may decide you qualify after determining you have severe functional limitations, even if your cancer is successfully cured.
Benefit Eligibility and Employment Limitations
It’s only if you’re unable to work for 12 months of longer that you’re eligible for disability. Thyroid cancer that has not spread or advanced is often treated long before a year has passed. Curative, though quiet aggressive surgical procedures may be necessary though, and these procedures can compromise speech, cause breathing problems, or lead to other severe and long-term or permanent impairments.
When severe functional limitations result, returning to work may not be possible, regardless of the types of jobs you formerly held.
Advanced or aggressive thyroid cancer may still be treatable, but often requires a combined approach, including surgeries, chemotherapy, biological treatments, and/or radiation. Treatments may stretch over several months, commonly causing side effects even more severe than cancer symptoms.
Working during this time isn’t possible. Recovery and return to work after successful treatment may be a long way off, meaning you meet the SSA’s disability duration requirements.
Knowing if Your Medical Records are Sufficient
thyroid cancer application must have specific medical evidence backing it before the SSA can approve benefits. Test results documenting your diagnosis and the grade and stage of cancer are crucial. A blood chemistry report shows elevated TSH levels. An ultrasound denotes the presence of abnormal growths. Biopsy results confirm the presence of cancer cells.
Your oncologist can help you understand the other records that may be necessary in your particular case after he or she reviews the SSA’s thyroid cancer disability listing.
If you meet this listing, you automatically qualify for benefits. If however your thyroid cancer is less aggressive, more responsive to treatment, or remits entirely, then you’ll have a more challenging case to fight. You’ll need additional records that report your functional limitations and the ways in which they stop you from performing everyday activities, including usual job functions.
Getting Ready to Submit Your Claim for Benefits
Before you ever fill out a single form, consider gathering as many pertinent records and documents as you can. These will make filling out your application faster and easier. A recent tax return, bank statements, and paystubs give you and the SSA the financial details required.
Medical bills, insurance claims, and medical records give you accurate contact information, dates of tests, and other details about your medical history.
Your oncologist can act as an advocate and partner through the disability application and review processes. After all, he or she will give the SSA access to your records and may complete other reports and forms too.
A disability advocate or attorney may also be a smart addition to your disability claim team, especially if you don’t automatically qualify under the thyroid cancer listing. A lawyer can potentially increase your chances of approval, particularly if an appeal hearing is necessary in your case.