What will be considered when awarding benefits for cancer?

As discussed in our last post, cancer is a very prevalent disease not just in Tennessee, but worldwide. The Social Security Administration recognizes this, and includes cancer in its Listing of Impairments, known as the “Blue Book.” It is important to understand, therefore, what the Social Security Administration will look for when considering applications for disability benefits based on cancer.

When evaluating cancer for the purposes of Social Security disability benefits, the SSA will consider the origin of the cancer and the extent of its involvement. It will also consider how long and how frequent the applicant had anticancer therapy, and the applicant’s response to it. Finally, the SSA will consider any effects of post-therapeutic residuals.

Of course, when evaluating these factors, the SSA needs to be supplied with a certain amount of medical evidence. They will look for evidence that specifically lists the type, extent and primary location of the cancer. There are certain other evaluations that will be considered when the primary site of the cancer cannot be identified, due to metastasis. If the applicant had a biopsy or operation, a copy of the operative note and the pathology report will be needed. If this information is not available, the summary of hospitalizations or other medical reports may suffice in some circumstances. The SSA will also consider the types of treatment the applicant received.

There are other factors the SSA will consider based upon the specific type of cancer the applicant suffers from. Moreover, if a person’s cancer does not fall under one of the cancer listings, it still may be possible to apply for benefits if the right requirements are met.

No one wants to develop cancer, but unfortunately, many people will. When the disease becomes disabling to the point that the person can no longer work, it may be time to seek Social Security disability benefits, to help cope not only with living costs, but also costs associated with treatment.