How to Qualify for Social Security Disability with Breast Cancer

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may find yourself unable to work. While breast cancer can be treatable when caught early, the symptoms and side effects of the treatments can leave you unable to work and needing help with your daily activities. Your oncologist can go over the requirements of the disability listing for breast cancer with you and help you determine if you are eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Meeting the Medical Criteria

The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if an individual qualifies for disability benefits. The listing breast cancer is quite technical, and it lists the medical tests, symptoms, and results that are necessary to be warranted approval for disability benefits. Breast cancer is listed with other cancers in Section 13.00, which is Malignant Neoplastic Diseases.

To meet the medical criteria for breast cancer, you will need to supply medical records that indicate one of the following situations:

  • You have an advanced form of breast cancer that extends into the skin, chest, or internal mammary nodes.
  • Your breast cancer is a carcinoma, which started in the cells of the tissue that lines organs or skin cells, and it has spread either above or below the collarbone, spread into more than 10 nearby nodes, or it has spread into distant chest regions.
  • You have an oat cell or small-cell carcinoma.
  • Your carcinoma has returned following cancer treatment or anti-cancer therapy.

Because of the technical nature of the listing for breast cancer, you should talk with your medical provider to learn if your specific kind of cancer has spread and is eligible to qualify for disability benefits per the medical criteria of the Blue Book.

Compassionate Allowances for Breast Cancer

If an individual is facing a severe, life-threatening disability, then help is needed. The SSA offers the compassionate allowance program (CAP), which expedites the disability application process. Instead of waiting more than five months for an approval as the typical claimant does, individuals with advanced breast cancer forms can qualify for CAP if one of these three conditions apply to their situation:

  • The breast cancer is inoperable.
  • The breast cancer returned despite cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
  • The breast cancer spread to distant organs, or metastasized.

The key to a successful disability claim for breast cancer involves gathering extensive medical records and supporting documentation, but if you have one kind of medical documentation that supports your qualification for CAP, then your approval process should move much faster.

Using A Medical-Vocational Allowance

Sometimes breast cancer is diagnosed in the early stages. While these stages don’t warrant approval based on the medical listing of the Blue Book, you can still meet the criteria of the medical-vocational allowance. You need to provide documentation from a doctor that shows you will be unable to work at least 12 months. Your physician must complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which will detail your general health and well-being.