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Getting Social Security Disability While Treating for Cancer in New York City

How to Apply for Disability When You Have Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment, the last thing you should be worrying about is paying your bills. You should be focusing on beating your disease, not focusing on money. Hire an experienced New York City Social Security Lawyer who can fight to get you benefits while you focus on your treatment.

It is important to know that disability benefits are a financial lifeline for individuals with cancer and their families. These are monthly benefits, which can cover regular bills, medical expenses, and everyday living costs. Although some cancers are highly treatable, even treatments can stop you from working for months and sometimes permanently. When this is the case, Social Security disability may be available to you.

Determining if You Might Qualify for Benefits

There are many advanced and treatment resistant forms of cancer that automatically medically qualify for benefits. People who have early stage cancers may meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability program requirements though, if the cancers prevent them from working.

If your cancer or required treatments make you fatigued, weak, or unable to think clearly, then you may not even be able to work in a sedentary job, as well as a physically taxing one. In cases like this, cancer can be a qualifying disability, even if it is responsive to treatment, eventually goes into remission, or may allow you to return to the workforce one day.

Ensuring Your Medical Evidence Meets Requirements

Disability program eligibility hinges on having the right medical evidence to satisfy SSA standards of proof. Certain pieces of evidence are the same, no matter what form cancer takes. Typically, the SSA must be able to see biopsy results or a pathology report, blood test or other lab results, x-rays, CTs, or other imaging scans, and treatment type, schedule, and results, including any side effects you experience.

It is very important to understand that the SSA maintains standard disability listings in its Blue Book manual. Disability Determination Services (DDS) staff use these listings when deciding eligibility for benefits. You should ask your doctor to review the appropriate listing for the form of cancer you have. Your doctor can ensure your medical records meet the SSA’s burden of proof requirements.

Preparing for Your Benefit Application

When filing for a disability application, you are required to add more than just medical evidence. The SSA must review information about your education, job training, and employment history as well as your financial circumstances.

You can provide accurate financial data on your application for benefits by using tax returns from previous years and bank account statements. You will also need to provide information on any other forms of benefits or assistance you receive, including any financial help you get from friends, family, or social service organizations.

The names and contact details of former employers and educational institutions you attended will be necessary too, as will information of your former job duties and skills. Old pay stubs, job descriptions, and other employment, training, and education records can help you gather and communicate these essential application details.

Contact information for all of your doctors and other healthcare providers, including hospitals and labs, will be required. Billing statements and copies of medical records will give you the information you need for completing your application, including the dates of service, formal diagnoses, and other crucial details.

Whether you’re applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both of these SSA disability programs, you may wish to speak with an attorney or advocate prior to starting your application. A disability advocate or attorney is familiar with the SSA’s evidence requirements, eligibility standards, and application processes, and can advise you throughout the application and review processes.

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