Is Social Security Disability an Option for Someone With Thyroid Cancer?

Doctor Holding a Model of a ThyroidNow that you’ve been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, you probably know more about your thyroid gland than ever before. You know that this butterfly-shaped gland in your neck creates hormones that help regulate your heart rate, blood pressure, metabolism, and body temperature, and you know that cancer can develop there.

Types of Thyroid Cancer

Different kinds of cancer can develop in your thyroid, even though they are all called thyroid cancer. For example, you may be diagnosed with:

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer. Anaplastic thyroid cancer, also known as undifferentiated carcinoma, usually occurs in older adults. It is a rare kind of cancer that begins in the follicular cells of the thyroid. This cancer grows quickly, spreads to other body parts, and is challenging to treat.
  • Follicular thyroid cancer. Approximately 10% of thyroid cancers are follicular thyroid cancers. As the name suggests, this type of cancer starts in the follicular cells of the thyroid. Follicular cancer typically doesn’t spread to the lymph nodes but can spread to other body parts such as the lungs or bones. There are various kinds of follicular thyroid cancers. For example, hurthle cell cancer is a rare and aggressive type of follicular thyroid cancer.
  • Medullary thyroid cancer. Medullary thyroid cancer originates in the thyroid’s C cells. C cells make the hormone calcitonin, which helps control the amount of calcium in your blood. This kind of cancer can spread to your lymph nodes, lungs, or liver before you know that you have thyroid cancer. It is often difficult to diagnose and treat.
  • Papillary thyroid cancer. Papillary carcinomas or papillary adenocarcinomas account for about 80% of thyroid cancers. This type of cancer begins in the follicular cells that make and store hormones. Papillary thyroid cancers are usually slow-growing, but they may spread to nearby lymph nodes. Many times, treatment works and people recover from this type of cancer. However, some subsets of papillary thyroid cancer are more aggressive and may be more dangerous.

Other rare types of thyroid cancers include thyroid lymphoma, thyroid sarcoma, and other thyroid tumors not described above.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability With Thyroid Cancer

There are several ways to qualify for Social Security disability. You may be eligible for monthly disability benefits if you(r):

  • Meet the requirements of Section 13.09 in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments. According to Section 13.09, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if you have thyroid cancer that is: (a) anaplastic (undifferentiated) carcinoma, (b) carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes that is progressive despite radioactive iodine therapy, or (c) medullary carcinoma with metastases beyond the regional lymph nodes.
  • Condition is equal in severity to another section of the Blue Book. You may have another form of thyroid cancer that isn’t included in the Blue Book. If your thyroid cancer affects your life in the same way as one of the cancers included in any of the Listing of Impairments, then you should apply for Social Security disability benefits.
  • Can’t engage in any substantial gainful activity because of your condition. If you are unable to work because of your medical condition and your condition is expected to last at least 12 months or cause your death, then you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

Any time you apply, you should have a complete application ready with supporting evidence, including medical records and other information that confirms your condition.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 52,890 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2020, and approximately 2,180 people will die from thyroid cancer in 2020.

If you have thyroid cancer and you can’t work, then we encourage you to contact our Boston area Social Security disability lawyers today for a free consultation. We will review your potential eligibility and do everything that we can to get you the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve. Call us, start a live chat with us, or fill out our online contact form today to learn more.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer