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Fresno, CA Attorney Blog

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Social Security Disability Insurance for Cancer Sufferers

Does having cancer qualify you to receive disability benefits?

Each year, over 1,660,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.  Being diagnosed with cancer is a terrifying experience, and while new medicine offers hope for many to beat a cancer diagnose, treatment can be emotionally and financially difficult for the entire family.  Cancer is an expensive illness to diagnose and treat.  Even for those with quality health insurance, co-payments and other out-of-pocket expenses can quickly eat into savings.  For some, continuing to work while fighting cancer is simply not possible.  Recognizing this, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows applicants with certain types and stages of cancer to apply for disability benefits if they are unable to work. 

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) in California

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal government program designed to help disabled individuals who are currently unable to work.  To qualify for SSDI insurance, you must:

  1. Be considered disabled—the SSA defines disabled as the inability to engage in a substantial gainful activity due to a physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death or last for at least 12 months;
  2. Be younger than 65; and
  3. Have worked in the past and contributed to the Social Security system.

Types of Cancer

Although a diagnosis with any type of cancer can be traumatic, not all forms of cancer will entitle you to Social Security Disability Benefits.  The SSA will look at your diagnosis, whether the cancer has spread or can be removed surgically, and whether the cancer has reoccurred, among other factors.  What the SSA is essentially looking for is whether your cancer prevents you from working and will continue to hinder for ability to work for at least 12 continuous months. 

There are certain types of cancer that may garner immediate approval for disability benefits.  These include metastatic brain cancer, inflammatory breast cancer, cancer of the pancreas, and spinal cord carcinoma, among others.  Many of these forms of cancer will also be eligible for expedited benefits as compassionate allowances.  If you have been diagnosed with cancer or another serious ailment, the Social Security Disability law firm of Peña & Bromberg can help.  Call us today at (559) 412-5390 for a free consultation.

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