Many people think that the term “disability” excludes illnesses like cancer. This may have been true throughout much of history, but things are improving for people with cancer who need disability benefits. Now, most definitions of disability include chronic illnesses.
How cancer affects eligibility
Like other conditions that cause severe impairments, cancer can qualify a person for disability benefits. The person must still prove that they are unable to work and are eligible for disability, however, and cancer does not automatically mean that a person will be approved.
Cancer is a group of diseases, not one single disease, and they affect people differently. While all cancer is serious, some patients may be able to continue working for longer than others. Cancers that progress more rapidly, or those that require more aggressive treatment, may cause impairment much sooner.
Some diseases are so severe that being diagnosed virtually guarantees that the patient will receive disability benefits. For these people, Social Security has a program called Compassionate Allowances. This is a list of diseases which are recognized as being among the most disabling, and nearly always eligible for disability benefits.
Patients with these conditions may receive a decision much more quickly than those with less disabling, or more slowly progressing, conditions. Examples include pancreatic cancer, acute leukemia, and certain forms of dementia.
For some patients, the treatment, and not the cancer itself, is what causes the most impairment. Those with slow-growing cancers may not experience many symptoms but may still require treatment. These people may need disability benefits, but may have a harder time getting them than a patient who is considered terminal.
How disability benefits can help you
Cancer treatment is expensive. So expensive, in fact, that many patients are unable to afford it.
If you are approved for disability, you will also be approved for health insurance through Medicare or Medicaid. The insurance you receive depends on the program, but both will go along way towards helping you pay for your cancer treatment. For some patients, this benefit is more valuable than the monthly payment.
Cancer treatment is a long and difficult road. If you are applying for disability benefits to pay for your treatment, we can help you. Contact our offices by phone, email, or text message for a free consultation. Reach out to us today!