Q Can I receive Social Security disability benefits if I have skin cancer?
Yes, Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are available for those with advanced skin cancer. The Social Security Administration’s Blue Book listing 13.03 outlines the guidelines for approval of applicants with skin cancers.
Most SSDI claims for skin cancer involve melanoma. Melanoma is the least common form of skin cancer, but it is the most serious. It spreads very quickly and can affect the skin, eyes, and internal organs. You can receive SSDI for melanoma if any of the following are true:
- Your melanoma has returned even after the cancer and skin surrounding the cancer was surgically removed.
- Your melanoma has spread to one or more lymph nodes that can be seen through medical imaging.
- Your melanoma has spread to four or more lymph nodes.
- Your melanoma has spread to adjacent skin or other sites on your body.
If you have squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell skin cancer, a skin sarcoma, or another skin cancer, you are eligible for SSDI if the cancer spreads beyond the local lymph nodes.
It is possible to get SSDI if you don’t meet these requirements, but you must show that the cancer or the effects of the cancer are equal in severity to another listing, or that you are unable to work because of your condition. For example, you may qualify for SSDI if your chemotherapy treatments leave you exhausted and in pain. You will have to have medical documentation that shows your condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year.
In order for the Social Security Administration to approve your application, you must provide medical records that show your diagnosis, outline your treatment plan, and document how the cancer has spread. Any medical imaging of the cancer, including computed tomography scans, radiographic studies, ultrasounds, nuclear scans, and magnetic resonance imaging will help to support your claim.
Applying for disability can be overwhelming when you are fighting cancer. Our Boston disability benefits lawyers can help. We can fill out the paperwork, obtain your medical records, and get the additional evidence needed to support your SSDI application. You can focus on getting well.
To learn more about applying for disability benefits in Massachusetts, request a free copy of our book, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.