What You Need to Know About Social Security Disability Eligibility After a Liver Cancer Diagnosis

Man With Liver Cancer Holding His SideSince 1980, the rate of liver cancer diagnoses has tripled and the death rate has doubled. According to American Cancer Society estimates, more than 42,000 people will be diagnosed with liver cancer, and more than 30,000 people will die from liver cancer in 2020.

Types of Liver Cancer

The term “liver cancer” refers to any cancer in the liver. However, not all liver cancers are the same. Liver cancers that develop in adults include:

  • Hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma, or HCC, is a cancer that starts in the liver. It is the most common form of liver cancer. HCC can begin as one tumor or many small cancer nodules.
  • Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma originates in the small bile ducts of the liver. Approximately 10 to 20 percent of liver cancers are intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas.
  • Angiosarcoma and Hemangiosarcoma. These cancers begin in the blood vessels of the liver. Angiosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma are relatively rare, but they are aggressive forms of cancer that grow quickly and they are hard to treat.

Secondary liver cancers can also occur. When cancer begins in another part of the body, such as the lung, stomach, or breast, and spreads to the liver, it is known as a secondary liver cancer. Secondary liver cancers are often treated differently than primary liver cancers.

You may suspect that you have liver cancer if you experience symptoms such as abdominal pain or bloating, back pain, shoulder pain, nausea, weakness, unexplained loss of appetite, or jaundice.

Social Security Disability Eligibility for People With Liver Cancer

The Social Security Administration recognizes cancer of the liver as a disabling condition. If you have liver cancer, then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits pursuant to Section 13.19 of the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.

You will need to provide the Social Security Administration with a complete disability application and medical evidence, including:

  • Documentation that shows the type, extent, and location of your cancer. This may include but is not limited to MRI, CT scan, and bloodwork results.
  • If you’ve had any operative procedures, including biopsies, then you need a copy of the pathology report and operative note. If you can’t get the pathology report and operative note, then the Social Security Administration may accept a detailed summary of your hospitalization and medical reports.

Since Section 13.19 does not include a specific amount of time that you will be considered disabled, the Social Security Administration should find you disabled from the time you are diagnosed with liver cancer until at least three years have passed since you entered remission.

The Social Security Administration Pays Special Attention to People With Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is not only included in the Listing of Impairments, but it is also on special lists of serious medical conditions maintained by the Social Security Administration, including:

  • The Compassionate Allowances List. If you have liver cancer, then your Social Security disability application may be considered much sooner than it would otherwise, and you may receive benefits more quickly because liver cancer is on the Compassionate Allowances list.
  • The Terminal Illness (TERI) Program. Terminal illnesses, including liver cancer, may qualify for expedited processing by the Social Security Administration. You do not have to tell the Social Security Administration that you are applying pursuant to the TERI program. Instead, you just need to be honest about your medical condition.

The goal of both programs is to get you the disability benefits that you’ve earned as quickly as possible.

Protect Your Own Social Security Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration recognizes that your liver cancer is a serious condition and that your disability application deserves a quick review. However, your Social Security disability eligibility is not automatic. You still need to prove that you have liver cancer and that you are permanently disabled.

Our experienced New England Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you present a convincing application to the Social Security Administration so that you can get disability benefits as quickly as possible. We will make sure that your application is complete, easy to understand, and that all of the required medical documentation is included.

Call us or reach out to us through this website today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer as soon as possible.

 

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