Qualifying for Disability Benefits With Salivary Gland Cancer

The prospects of becoming seriously ill is hard enough to accept, more so if it involves a rare type of cancer like salivary gland cancer. It is a relief for thousands of families to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, which is long-term financial assistance that can be a big help with the expenses involved in the treatment of your condition.

To be eligible for SSD benefits, you need to be found to have a disability that lasts for 12 months or more, or is terminal. The SSA's criteria for approval includes the following:

  • Inability to work due to your disability;
  • Your physical or mental condition does not allow you to adjust to do other work as per SSA’s determination; and,
  • The subject condition existed or is expected to exist for no less than 1 year, or will result to death.

Many people with salivary gland cancer can meet this criteria and be approved for disability benefits.

What is Salivary Gland Cancer?

Salivary gland cancer is rare and starts in the salivary glands in the throat, neck or mouth. The main function of the salivary glands is to excrete saliva, which in turn maintains the mouth’s moisture, helps in digestion and helps keep the teeth healthy. There are many salivary glands, including tiny ones located in the lips, mouth, throat and cheeks. The three major salivary glands are as follows:

Qualifying for disability benefits with salivary gland cancer

  • Sublingual
  • Parotid
  • Submandibular

Typically, the parotid gland, which is located in front of the ears, is the cause of salivary gland cancer. The Blue Book, SSA’s technical guidebook of disabilities, describes malignant salivary cancers as “cancers that form in tissues of salivary glands in the floor of the mouth and throughout the oropharynx, the parotid glands and the submandibular glands.” Some of the most common symptoms of this type of cancer include the following:

  • Painless lump in the mouth, neck or face;
  • Facial numbness and inability to move the facial muscles;
  • Swelling or pain in the neck, jawbone, chin or face; and,
  • Differing sizes of the left and right sides of the face or neck.

Surgery is often a part of treating salivary gland cancer, besides chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Needless to say, huge expense is warranted. SSD benefits would definitely be a big help.

Blue Book Listing for Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary gland cancer can be found in the Blue Book listing under Section 13.08, Salivary glands. Your cancer will be approved if it has spread beyond the regional lymph nodes. If diagnosed with this condition, you can file for an SSD benefits claim by appropriately filling up the required forms and paperwork, which can be found on the SSA's website. It is necessary to thoroughly and accurately answer the questions in these forms to make sure your claim will not be rejected.

Along with the forms, you need to submit before the SSA complete copies of your medical records that may include, among others, the following depending on your situation:

  • Laboratory results
  • Medical treatment records; and,
  • Written/signed statements from doctors treating your condition.

You need to make sure all these are submitted to as support to your claim for SSD benefits.

Seek Assistance from a Disability Attorney or Advocate

To save you the time and effort required when filing a claim for SSD benefits, it is more convenient to seek assistance from a Social Security disability attorney. Using an advocate or attorney might improve your chance of getting your claim approved, as your attorney would be familiar with all the documents that need to be submitted and ensure they are properly answered.