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Keefe Disability Law
Social Security Disability & Supplemental Security Income
Toll Free 888-904-6847
Call 508-283-5500
Fax 508-309-6954

What You Need to Know about SSDI and Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer affects more than 72,000 Americans each year. More than three-quarters of those who are diagnosed are men. Most are over age 55.

About half of those who are diagnosed with bladder cancer are diagnosed while the cancer is still in its early stages and can be surgically removed. However, bladder cancer has the highest recurrence rate of any type of cancer, even when all tumors are removed. Because recurrent bladder cancers are more difficult to treat, doctors may decide to remove the bladder through a procedure called a cystectomy.

Patients with early-stage bladder cancer are usually able to keep their jobs with time off for surgery. However, it is more difficult to keep working if one is fighting late-stage cancer. If bladder cancer leaves you unable to work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).

Do You Qualify Under Disability Listing 13.22?

The Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments includes a listing for bladder cancer. You will be automatically approved for SSDI if you are not working and meet the disability listing 13.22, urinary bladder carcinoma.

To qualify for SSDI under listing 13.22, you must provide medical records that document at least one of the following conditions:

  • You have bladder cancer that is inoperable or cannot be removed by surgery.
  • You have bladder cancer that has reoccurred after the complete removal of your bladder. 
  • You have bladder cancer that has infiltrated beyond the bladder wall (Stage 3).
  • Your bladder cancer has spread to other parts of the body or beyond the lymph nodes closest to the bladder (Stage 4).

Can You Get a Medical-Vocational Allowance for Bladder Cancer?

If you do not qualify for SSDI under disability listing 13.22, you may qualify for SSDI under a medical-vocational allowance. A medical vocational allowance is based on your ability to do basic, job-related tasks, such as sitting, standing, lifting, concentrating, or interacting with others. 

The Social Security Administration will determine your eligibility for a medical-vocational allowance based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). An RFC measures your ability to do work based on the restrictions of all your disabilities and your age, education, and employment history. 

In order to qualify for a medical-vocational allowance, you must show the SSA that you are unable to do any type of work during a 40-hour work week. Those over age 55 are more likely to be approved for SSDI based on a medical-vocational allowance.

The Compassionate Allowances Program Allows Expedited Approval for Those with Late-stage Cancer.

If you have late-stage bladder cancer that is inoperable, unresectable (cannot be completely removed), or has spread to other parts of the body, you may qualify for the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance Program. The Compassionate Allowances Program offers faster processing for those with serious or terminal illnesses. If you qualify, you will get a decision within weeks after submitting your medical records. 

More than two-thirds of those who apply for SDDI are denied. This doesn’t mean you should give up. Our Boston disability benefits attorneys can help you appeal the appeal the SSA’s decision. Learn more about applying for disability benefits in Massachusetts SSDI attorney John Keefe’s book, 7 Costly Mistakes that Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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