Find Help After a Cancer Diagnosis Through Disability Benefits

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Benefits

Is cancer a disability? Yes, people who have cancer may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) depending on how the disease limits your ability to work. This is important because the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses both medical disability and non-medical criteria to determine whether you qualify for SSDI.

Disability benefits can help you relieve some of the financial stress of living expenses and other costs you will face while you are unable to work full-time after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Disability Apply is here to help you apply for benefits.

Disability Apply offers free case evaluations and does not charge a fee unless you win your case. Contact us today to start on the application!

Who Can Qualify for SSDI?

Let’s start by looking at qualifications for disability benefits. A cancer diagnosis alone will not automatically qualify you for SSDI. To qualify for SSDI, you must have worked 5 out of the last 10 years, paid into Social Security, and earned enough work credits.

You must also meet Social Security’s strict definition of disability. Cancer can be a disability if it has affected you or is expected to affect you for at least 12 months or result in death.

Your condition must also be severe enough that it causes severe functional limitations that prevent you from working.

If you are seeking Social Security disability benefits for cancer, you can get started right now on applying for benefits by completing this free evaluation form.

Cancers On The SSA Listing Of Impairments

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, you may qualify for benefits if the type of cancer is listed in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments — also known as the Blue Book — and meet the appropriate criteria.

Section 13 of the Blue Book (Malignant Neoplastic Diseases) refers to cancers. Includes is a list of impairments and the criteria that will approve you for disability benefits. The following are only some examples of the extensive list of cancers listed.

  • Acute leukemia
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia
  • Colon cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Melanoma

The SSA has different eligibility criteria for each cancer, and your eligibility may depend on your type of cancer, symptoms, stage of cancer, and type of treatment.

Medical Evidence Needed For Cancer Claim

Only a few applicants will qualify for disability benefits with just a cancer diagnosis, as most will need additional medical evidence.

The SSA will usually require medical evidence that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. The following are examples of evidence needed:

  • Biopsy results documenting the type of cancer found.
  • Admission and discharge summaries from hospitals, clinics, etc.
  • Records of the frequency of cancer treatments and their effects.
  • Surgical results and scans from a physician.

Medical records are crucial for approving a disability claim for cancer because your case will be heavily evaluated based on all the medical documentation.

Qualifying Through the Compassionate Allowances List

There is another option to qualify for benefits. Applicants with certain cancers may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance and can receive automatic and expedited approval of benefits.

There are more than 50 different types of cancer found on the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). Below are a few examples.

  • Bladder cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Large intestine cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Stomach cancer

Most cancers, like the ones listed above, will qualify as a CAL if the cancer has spread beyond the region of origin, is inoperable, or is recurrent despite treatment. Also, minimal medical evidence is required if an applicant meets a CAL listing.

Getting Benefits Through A Medical-Vocational Allowance

If your condition does not meet a listing in the Blue Book, you may still qualify for SSDI based on your age, educational level, work history, and Residual Functional Capacity (RFC).

Your RFC is the maximum mental and physical abilities you retain despite your medical condition and is used to determine whether you can work.

The most common forms of cancer treatment – radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery – all can cause severe and permanent functional limitations. If your treatment’s side effects leave you unable to perform full-time work, you will qualify for benefits under a Medical-Vocational Allowance.

In this case, you will need to provide medical evidence proving the functional limitations you experience due to treatment. For example, the frequency of drug administration or schedule and fields of radiation therapy.

Find Support From Disability Apply

Disability Apply is dedicated to helping people apply for and receive SSDI benefits nationwide. Our objective is to help the millions of Americans who are disabled, unable to work, and struggling financially. Every day, we help thousands of people across the country receive the Social Security disability benefits they are rightfully entitled to.

Disability Apply understands the importance of receiving benefits during this difficult time and can help you prove that your cancer condition meets the criteria for disability benefits. We can also demonstrate that the effects of your treatment prevent you from engaging in full-time employment.

We’re here to help you or a loved one with a cancer diagnoses. Contact us today to get started or fill out our free no-obligation form to get started today.

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

    Please be aware that SSDI and Unemployment are different. This information is for SSDI and NOT Unemployment.

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    One or more of your responses indicate that you may not qualify for benefits. Please email us at for further assistance.

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