Sometimes your health takes a turn for the worse. You develop an illness or impairment that keeps you from working full-time and maintaining financial independence.
If this condition is expected to last a year or more or end in your death, you may be eligible for one of the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s disability programs.
These programs provide monthly cash payments to disabled workers and their families or low-income households that require extra assistance to make ends meet.
Bone cancer is one condition that can help you qualify for expedited benefits.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits
When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA will consult the Blue Book, which is its guidebook of disabling impairments. Bone cancer is specifically listed in section 13.11, so the SSA will consider you disabled if the cancer:
- Is inoperable or unresectable OR
- Has spread OR
- Is being treated with multimodal therapy
Inoperable or unresectable bone cancer and bone cancer with distant metastases will make you eligible for a Compassionate Allowance, which means that the SSA will process your application more quickly and, if it is approved, expedite the payment of your benefits.
The Application Process
To apply for disability benefits, you must submit a completed application to the SSA, along with copies of medical records that confirm the bone cancer diagnosis and go into detail about any treatments you have undergone. Such records might include:
- Results of physical examinations
- Ultrasound imaging
- Pathology reports for biopsy specimens or needle aspirations
- Surgical notes
- X-rays and CT scans
- MRIs and radionuclide bone scans
- Hospitalization records
- Treatment history as well as your response to each treatment
When your health is declining, it's a good idea to seek assistance from a Social Security disability advocate or attorney. Although having bone cancer expedites the consideration of your application, two-thirds of all claims are initially rejected by the SSA.
An advocate or attorney can minimize the risk of a denial by ensuring that your application package contains all relevant details, but if it does happen, they will also guide you through the appeals process and support you at the hearing.
You already have enough to deal with. Receiving monthly benefits can lessen your financial worries as you continue treatment and focus on the future.