Social Security Disability Benefits for Islet Cell Cancer

When a physical or mental impairment leaves you so debilitated that gainful employment becomes impossible, it can be difficult to provide for yourself and your loved ones. How will you support them? How will you cover treatment costs if you are no longer eligible for health insurance? Fortunately the Social Security Administration (SSA) has two federal programs that provide financial support for people who are unable to work due to a disabling impairment or illness.

Although one is for applicants with an employment history and the other is for low-income households, both require you to:

  • Have a disabling condition expected to last at least a year and / or end in your death

  • Experience symptoms that match those of a recognized disability

Islet cell cancer is one of those illnesses that can qualify you for monthly disability payments provided that certain medical criteria are met.

Islet Cell Cancer Explained

Islet cell cancer is a rare form of pancreatic cancer, which has a high mortality rate. This is because people will usually experience no detectable symptoms until the tumors have grown to a dangerous size. The greater majority of those with the condition have tumors that cannot be removed completely, requiring debilitating treatments that weaken you further.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include:

  • Pain in the back and upper abdomen

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Jaundice and dark urine

  • Blood clots

The SSA considers most applicants who have pancreatic cancer to not only be automatically disabled, but qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, which results in the speedier processing of your application and arrival of you benefits. Islet cell cancer, which affects the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, is a relatively rare form of the condition, accounting for only 5% of all diagnoses, and qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance only under certain conditions.

Qualifying for Disability Benefits

When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA checks the Blue Book, which is its guidebook of recognized disabilities and the qualifications for each one. Islet cancer appears under Listing 13.20 Pancreas and requires that your condition meet the following criteria for a successful claim:

  • The islet cell tumors are actively producing cancer cells

  • They must be inoperable or unresectable

  • They produce active hormones such as glucagon and insulin

If treatment causes the islet cell carcinoma to go into remission, the SSA will still regard you as disabled for another three years. Then, your condition will be reassessed to determine if your benefits should continue.

The Application Process

When applying for SSA disability benefits, you must download and complete an application form along with any medical records that verify your claim. With a diagnosis of islet cell cancer, this could include:

  • Surgical notes for any attempts at tumor removal

  • Images that confirm the location of the tumors, such as CT scans and ultrasounds

  • Results of blood, urine, and stool tests

  • Hospitalization records

  • Treatment history

Be prepared for the SSA to reject your claim the first time around, as the majority of applications are initially denied for various reasons. This is where professional representation and advice from a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate can help. These parties can:

  • Ensure that your original application contains all required information

  • Advise you on which medical records you will need

  • Help you prepare for as well as represent you at an appeal hearing

If islet cell cancer leaves you mentally and emotionally exhausted and unable to work, support from an SSD attorney or advocate can increase your chances of getting the financial assistance you and your family need.