Social Security Disability and a Brain Cancer DiagnosisThe effects of brain cancer are personal. The symptoms that you experience and the effect of the cancer on your daily activities depend on the size of the tumor, the location of the tumor, and the treatment that you are able to receive.

In many cases, your life is forever changed. You can no longer do the work that you did prior to your diagnosis, and Social Security disability may be an option for you.

Do You Qualify?

You will qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove your eligibility in one of the following three ways:

You Are Eligible If You Meet the Requirements of Section 13.13 in the Listing of Impairments

Section 13.13 of the Listing of Impairments describes how a person may qualify for Social Security disability if they have been diagnosed with cancer in the nervous system (which includes both the brain and spinal cord). Specifically, someone with brain cancer may qualify for benefits if that person has one of the following:

  • Glioblastoma multiforme, ependymoblastoma, and diffuse intrinsic brain stem gliomas.
  • Any Grade III or Grade IV central nervous system cancer including astrocytomas, sarcomas, and medulloblastoma and other primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs).
  • Any primary central nervous system cancer that is metastatic, progressive, or recurrent following initial cancer treatment.

Your medical records will prove whether or not you qualify in one of these ways. If you do not qualify pursuant to Section 13.13 then you should consider whether you are eligible for benefits in another way.

You Are Eligible If Your Symptoms Are Equal in Severity to Another Listing in the Listing of Impairments

If the effects of your condition are the same as another listing in the listing of impairments, then you should provide documentation of your symptoms and details about how those symptoms are equal in severity to a specific listing.

You Are Eligible If You Cannot Work

You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits based on your Residual Functional Capacity. More specifically, the Social Security Administration will look at how brain cancer limits your ability to work. To qualify for benefits in this way, it is important to submit the following information with your application:

  • How much work you will miss in an average month.
  • How much rest you require throughout the day.
  • How your abilities to lift, walk, carry, focus, and understand directions are impacted by your brain cancer.
  • How the side effects of your treatments may limit your ability to work.

Regardless of how you qualify for benefits, you will need to submit comprehensive medical evidence to the Social Security Administration in support of your application. Some of the evidence you should include with your application are:

  • Physician notes
  • Clinic notes
  • Radiology reports
  • Lab work
  • Operative report if a biopsy is performed
  • A statement from your doctor about your prognosis and diagnosis

Other evidence should also be discussed with your Social Security disability lawyer.

Your Social Security Disability Claim May Be Fast Tracked

In some cases, your claim may be fast-tracked according to the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program. Glioblastoma multiforme, a common type of brain cancer, is included on the Compassionate Allowances list. If you have been diagnosed with this form of brain cancer then it is important to let the Social Security Administration know on your initial application so that your claim can be fast-tracked and, perhaps, decided within weeks rather than months.

Why it Is Important to Fight for the Social Security Disability Benefits You Deserve

You have a scary diagnosis and you have paid your fair share into the Social Security system. Now is the time to collect the benefits that you have earned and to ease some of the financial pressure that comes with a brain cancer diagnosis.

To learn more, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an initial meeting. Let’s talk about your options and what we can do to get you the benefits that you deserve. Please call us today or reach out to us via this website to learn more.

Are You Looking for a Social Security Disability Attorney in Boston, MA?

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.


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