How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with Breast Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, there is a 1 in 8 chance that a woman will develop breast cancer sometime in her life. If you or someone you know has breast cancer and is unable to work because of that, then there are financial resources from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in forms of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI benefits are monthly payment installments for those who can no longer work full time anymore due to a disability or a severe ailment, such as breast cancer. When you are get approved by the SSA to start receiving SSDI benefits, you can spend that money on medical bills and medication related your treatment and basic day to day needs like car payments or bills for around the house. Here is how to qualify for Social Security disability benefits with breast cancer.

How to Medically Qualify for Social Security Disability

One of the first things that the SSA will look into when you send in your application for SSDI benefits is to see if you medically qualify. The SSA will take your breast cancer diagnosis outlined in your paperwork to see if it matches breast cancer listing(s) their own medical guide, colloquially known as the Blue Book. Breast Cancer is listed in Section 13.10 of the Blue Book. Someone will be able to medically qualify for Social Security disability benefits with breast at least 1 of the following:

  • You have small-cell carcinoma, aka oat cell carcinoma.
  • After anti-cancer therapy, your carcinoma has returned.
  • You have an advanced form of breast cancer that has extended to the skin, internal mammary nodes, or chest.
  • You hve carcinoma that started in the cells of the skin or tissue lining organs that has spread either below or above the collar bone, has spread to 10 or more nearby nodes, or spread to distant chest regions.

The entire is Blue Book is available online for your review. You may want to talk to your primary care physician and/or oncologist to see if you are able to medically qualify.  The Blue Book will also outline what medical test and other documentations the SSA will need when making their decision.

How to Qualify Without Meeting a Blue Book Listing

The listings that Blue Book has regarding breast cancer are usually reserved for women who have State III-B, or above. If your stage of breast cancer is lower than that, then you could have trouble medically qualifying for Social Security disability benefits. However, that shouldn’t deter someone from applying for Social Security disability benefits, especially if their diagnosis makes it hard to work full time. If you are unable to meet one of the Blue Book listing, you may still be able to qualify though a medical vocational allowance. Under a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will review the medical documentation you provide to see if your breast cancer diagnosis effects your ability to work your job and preform every day activities. In your medical vocational allowance, you need to show that you cannot earn more than $1,220 per month because of your breast cancer diagnosis.

How to Start your Application 

The application process for Social Security disability benefits is a straightforward process. The most convenient way to apply is online at the SSA’s website. Simply start your application at any time. If you would prefer, you have the option of applying in person at a Social Security office. Just make sure to call ahead to schedule your appointment. If you cannot physically apply yourself, you can have a loved one apply on your behalf. If you have any further questions regarding the qualification or application process for SSDI benefits, you can call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. It generally takes between 3 and 5 months to hear back from the SSA regarding your application.