Patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are uniquely situated to receive Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits. Since this form of cancer is often diagnosed in its later stages, it traditionally has less positive outcomes than cancer that is caught and treated early. Most patients will have tumors that cannot be fully removed, making the treatment particularly aggressive and even disabling for the patient. For these reasons, most pancreatic cancer claims that are supported by medical evidence are approved for Social Security disability benefits.
Medical Evidence to Include in a Pancreatic Cancer SSDI Claim
The biggest piece of evidence you will need for your claim is a biopsy report that confirms the presence of cancer in your pancreas. However, you can support this with additional information from your medical record, including:
- Surgical notes. If your tumor was completely or partially removed, you should provide the SSA with the surgical report, including the surgeon’s notes and a biopsy report of the tissue that was removed in surgery.
- Lab tests. Any microscopic analysis of blood, urine, or stool that confirms your cancer diagnosis or provides additional information about your condition should be included in your application.
- Imaging tests. You may wish to include CT scans, ultrasounds, or other imaging tests of your tumor.
- Summary of symptoms. An outline of your symptoms can add context to your application. For instance, those who suffer persistent nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or difficulty sleeping will likely have difficulty working.
- Pathologist notes. A detailed description of your pathologist’s findings can help demonstrate the extent of your condition to the SSA.
- Treatment plans. Your prognosis should include a treatment plan, such as whether your doctor recommends surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, or any combination of these.
Your Social Security Disability and SSI Claims Depend on Your Medical Evidence
It is important to provide relevant and accurate information to support your SSDI claim. Not only should the evidence contain a definitive diagnosis, it should demonstrate that your condition will last long enough and impair your ability to work enough to meet SSDI requirements.
The more supporting evidence you provide, the likelier you are to get:
- Your benefits approved. Most pancreatic cancer claims are approved based on a diagnosis alone. However, patients who do not meet the Blue Book requirements for pancreatic cancer can still receive payments if their conditions prevent them from working. If your mental or physical suffering due to cancer prevents you from earning a living, the Social Security Administration may approve benefits based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). The judgment of your abilities will be based on medical evidence, so the more proof you provide about the limitations of your condition, the stronger your case will be.
- Faster benefits. The Social Security Administration has listed pancreatic cancer as one of the conditions that qualifies for the Compassionate Allowance program, allowing patients to receive expedited benefits. If you have pancreatic cancer of the exocrine cells or pancreatic adenocarcinoma, you will be found disabled by the SSA with a drastically reduced wait time. However, patients with islet cell carcinoma do not qualify for the Compassionate Allowance program.
- Additional benefits. If your SSDI application is approved, you have a much greater likelihood of receiving other types of benefits. For example, patients who are in dire financial need and have little access to family funds or assets may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, food stamps, and state and local benefit programs.
It is vital that claimants have all the information they need during the Social Security Disability filing and appeal process. Please feel free to download our free report, Five Most Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability, or contact us using the link on this page to have one of our attorneys contact you for your free, over-the-phone screening to determine your eligibility for Social Security benefits.
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If you are looking to apply for social security disability, you need to speak with an experienced social security disability lawyer as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Natick Office directly at 508.283.5500 to schedule your free consultation.