Cancer could be considered one of the most serious conditions that an individual has to suffer in his or her lifetime. The disease itself can be incapacitating, and the treatments that are used to hopefully send the cancer into remission can negatively affect an individual’s health and life as a whole. Luckily, cancer is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an eligible impairment.
Cancer affects millions of people, with more than 1.6 million new cases being diagnosed each year, as well as almost 600,000 cancer deaths each year. Some of the most common types of cancer in the United States include breast, lung, prostate, colon, bladder, melanoma, thyroid, kidney cancer, among many others.
How Does the SSA Evaluate Your Application?
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits and list that you have been diagnosed with cancer, the SSA will look at particular factors to determine your eligibility. First, they will look at where the cancer originated and then look at the extent of the involvement of the cancer.
Next, the SSA will begin looking into the treatments that you have undergone. In regard to these treatments, the SSA will pay attention to the how long you underwent the treatments, how frequently you had to have treatments, and how your body responded to the treatments. Lastly, the SSA will consider post-therapeutic residuals and how they have affected you.
All of these factors will be applied to your individual case based on the specific cancer that you have been diagnosed with. Each person and their disease is unique. Therefore, the SSA approaches each case differently.
What Type of Evidence Is Required to Be Submitted?
While you need to make sure that you completely fill out your application, you also need to attach any and all additional information that is required of you by the SSA, including medical proof of your cancer diagnosis from your healthcare provider.
As a general rule, the SSA will require various types of medical proof, including:
- Blood tests or other results lab results
- Pathology report or biopsy results
- CT scans or other types of imaging scans
You will also likely need a full medical report of any treatments that you have received, as well as the treatment’s results, including the side effects that you experienced while undergoing the treatment.
How Long Does Is the Process?
The SSA may take months to process your application for Social Security Disability to be approved. And if your application is denied and you have to go through the appeals process, you may even be looking at a year or more before your application is approved.
Thankfully, the SSA does have the ability to speed up the review process for some people. For example, if you have an illness that is listed on what is known as a Compassionate Allowance, which includes certain types of cancer, you may be able to have your application approved in less time. Some cancers that are on this list include breast, bladder, kidney, liver, ovarian, prostate, and thyroid cancers.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
Navigating the mound of paperwork that is involved in Social Security Disability applications can be extremely difficult, particularly because the language can be confusing. But the last thing you want or need is for your application to be denied because you accidentally wrote the wrong answer to a question on the application that you didn’t understand. Social Security Disability attorneys also know how to attempt to make the process much faster, especially if you unfortunately are terminal.
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you want to make sure that all of your paperwork is completely and properly filled out in its entirety the first time. A correct application increases the chances of a speedy approval. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring someone with experience, such as a Social Security Disability lawyer, to assist you in the process.
To ensure that you have everything that you need before submission and that the application process goes smoothly, contact Horn & Kelley P.C., Attorneys at Law and allow us to help you.