Social Security Benefits May Ease Financial Stress During Cancer Treatment

Child holding grandparent's hand

A cancer diagnosis can strain even a carefully planned budget, but social security disability may be available to offset the costs of treatment. Research has improved the quality of cancer care, but at a cost. Many find the cost of therapy along with the inability to work to be a financial strain.

Trying to Work With Cancer

Even cancers that respond well to treatment can have a toll on the patient. The physical and mental effects of the disease and the side effects of chemotherapy or radiation make it difficult to work during treatments. Cancer care is extremely individualized, and each patient responds to treatments differently.

The Financial Impacts of Cancer

If a person is not able to work because of their cancer, he or she will be unable to pay for medical bills and medications needed to treat the disease. Although many individuals have disability options through employment, these insurance plans only provide a portion of the usual income. These plans do not pay indefinitely, further limiting the benefit.

Doctors have more options to treat cancer thanks to years of research. Chemotherapy, radiation, and biological treatments can help patients battle their illness. Biological treatments are newer and quite expensive. Treatments can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per month.

Qualifying for Disability

The “Blue Book” defines hundreds of recognized disabilities. The Blue Book helps patients and doctors understand what is covered under the Social Security Administration’s regulations. Different forms of cancer will qualify differently, so consulting the Blue Book is imperative after a diagnosis.

Social Security Disability may be an option to help offset the financial strain during treatment. Applications can be submitted online, on the SSA’s website, or in person at a local office.

The SSA will require the following information to approve a claim:

  • Biopsy notes, or a report detailing why the cancer is inoperable
  • Pathology reports describing the type of cancer
  • Imaging scans showing tumors or spread of the disease
  • Details of treatment, including their effects on quality of life

Persons submitting a claim should have all copies of medical records available. A Social Security law firm Chicago can examine the case if a claim has been denied. Financial assistance can make living with cancer much less stressful, potentially improving the outcome of patients.

Citations

https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/patient-advice/articles/2015/07/01/oncologists-worry-about-rising-costs-of-cancer-treatment