Many different cancers qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The main requirement to qualify for disability with cancer is that the cancer diagnosis will prevent you from working for at least the next 12 months. Section 13.00 in the SSA’s Blue Book lists approximately 30 different types of cancer that can qualify for disability. These cancers range from skin cancer to cancers where the origin is not known.
What Cancers Qualify For Social Security Disability?
The Blue Book is a resource used by the SSA when determining whether disability applicants’ conditions qualify them to receive disability benefits. Essentially, the Blue Book is a manual of disabling medical conditions—physical and mental—that the SSA sees as being severe enough that they qualify someone with such a condition to get disability.
The SSA has devoted Section 13.00 of the Blue Book to the cancers that qualify for disability benefits. is a list of each of the types.
- soft tissue cancer of the head and neck,
- soft tissue sarcoma,
- malignant melanoma,
- lymphoma (including mycosis fungoides, but excluding T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma,
- multiple myeloma,
- salivary glands,
- thyroid gland,
- skeletal system,
- maxilla, orbit, or temporal fossa,
- nervous system,
- urinary bladder,
- cancers of the female genital tract,
- prostate gland,
- malignant melanoma.
What Cancer Automatically Qualifies For SSD?
Any cancer that is diagnosed at Stage IV or is terminal will automatically qualify a victim to receive disability benefits. A cancer diagnosis that is severe qualifies the victim for the Compassionate Allowance program, which allows a faster process for deciding on a claim for disability benefits so that the victim’s payments aren’t delayed.
Cancers that Qualify for a Compassionate Allowance
So long as the person who has cancer has evidence that proves the severity of their cancer diagnosis, the following cancers should qualify for disability benefits as a Compassionate Allowance:
- ureter cancer, with distant metastases, or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent,
- stomach cancer, with distant metastases, or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent,
- spinal nerve root cancer, metastatic or recurrent,
- peripheral nerve cancer, metastatic or recurrent,
- ovarian cancer, with distant metastases, or inoperable or unresectable,
- osteosarcoma, with distant metastases, or inoperable or unresectable,
- non-small cell lung cancer with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes, or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent,
- merkel cell carcinoma, with metastases,
- malignant melanoma, with metastases,
- lymphomatoid granulomatosis, grade iii,
- large intestine cancer with distant metastasis; or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent,
- kidney cancer, inoperable or unresectable,
- head and neck cancers with distant metastases, or inoperable or unresectable,
- follicular dendritic cell sarcoma, metastatic or recurrent,
- chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), blast phase,
- chondrosarcoma with multimodal therapy,
- carcinoma of unknown primary site,
- breast cancer with distant metastases, or inoperable or unresectable,
- bladder cancer with distant metastases, or inoperable or unresectable,
- anaplastic adrenal cancer with distant metastases, or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrence,
- adrenal cancer with distant metastases, or inoperable, unresectable, or recurrence.
Can I Qualify If My Cancer Isn’t In the Blue Book?
You may qualify for disability benefits even if your cancer is not listed in the Blue Book but you will have take part in a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment carried out by your doctor or a physician appointed by the SSA. This assessment can help confirm to the SSA that your cancer will prevent you from working for at least 12 months. In addition to submitting an RFC, you will also need to provide other medical evidence such as test results confirming your cancer diagnosis.
Get Help With Your Claim
It is never easy to win a claim for disability, even if you have been diagnosed with cancer. Getting help with your cancer disability application from an attorney who focuses on disability benefits can increase your likelihood of getting the assistance you need. This is because an attorney can tell you what evidence and forms you will need to obtain and fill out and help you gather said medical evidence—ultimately helping you ensure that your application is as strong as it can possibly be before you submit it to the SSA. Plus, getting assistance from an attorney could give you more time to spend focusing on yourself and your recovery, as well as spending time with the ones you love most.
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