Breast Cancer and Social Security DisabilityYour doctor is answering your important questions about your breast cancer treatment, but what about your other concerns? Will you be able to work? How will you pay your bills after a breast cancer diagnosis?

Will You Be Eligible for Social Security Disability?

Since you started working, a portion of each of your paychecks has gone to Social Security. You planned on that money for your retirement, but it is also available to you if you become permanently disabled and you cannot work.

Generally, in order to receive Social Security disability benefits, you must be unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to either last at least one year or result in death. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer then there are several ways to prove your eligibility.

You May Be Eligible Pursuant to Section 13.10 in the Listing of Impairments

If you have breast cancer other than sarcoma then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits pursuant to the specific breast cancer listing in the Listing of Impairments if one of the following is true:

  • You have locally advanced cancer. This includes inflammatory carcinoma, cancer of any size with direct extension to the chest wall or skin, or cancer of any size with metastases to the ipsilateral internal mammary nodes.

  • You have carcinoma with metastases to the supraclavicular or infraclavicular nodes, to 10 or more axillary nodes, or with distant metastases.

  • You have recurrent carcinoma (except local recurrence that remits with treatment).

  • You have small-cell carcinoma (also known as oat cell).

  • You have breast cancer with secondary lymphedema that is caused by anticancer therapy and treated by surgery to salvage or restore functioning of an upper extremity. This is considered a disability for at least 12 months from the date of surgery that treated your secondary lymphedema. After that, your eligibility will be evaluated based on any residual impairments you suffer.

These specific criteria are not the only way you may be found eligible for Social Security disability, however.

You May Prove Eligibility Another Way

You may also be eligible for Social Security disability if you have breast cancer and you:

  • Have symptoms that are equal in severity to another listing in the Listing of Impairments.

  • You have another medical condition that meets the requirements of a listing in the Listing of Impairments.

  • You lack the residual capacity to work because of your medical condition.

Regardless of how you qualify for Social Security disability, you must be able to provide documentation of your diagnosis and treatment. You will need copies of:

  • Your doctor’s notes.

  • Your oncologist’s reports.

  • Lab test results.

  • Biopsy records.

  • Pathology reports.

  • Treatment records from a hospital or clinic.

You will also benefit from a letter from your oncologist describing how your disease or your treatment prevents you from being able to work.

Can Your Social Security Disability Application Be Expedited?

If you have stage 4 breast cancer or breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body and cannot be removed by surgery or other methods, then you may qualify for fast-track approval under the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program.

Specifically, you may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program if you have:

  • Stage IV breast carcinoma.

  • Metastatic breast carcinoma.

  • Metastatic breast cancer.

  • Stage IV ductal carcinoma of the breast.

  • Metastatic ductal carcinoma.

  • Metastatic ductal cancer.

  • Lobular carcinoma of the breast Stage IV.

  • Metastatic lobular cancer.

  • Metastatic lobular carcinoma.

  • Recurrent breast cancer.

  • Inflammatory breast cancer.

If you have been diagnosed with any of these types of breast cancer, then your application for Social Security disability may be decided in weeks rather than months because of the Compassionate Allowances program.

Get the Help You Deserve When Applying for Social Security Disability

If you believe you qualify for Social Security disability based on your breast cancer then it is important to get legal help before you file your application for benefits. Our experienced lawyers know how to accurately and effectively complete Social Security disability applications so that you can increase your chances of getting the financial support that you deserve during this difficult time. Please contact us today via this website or by phone to learn more about your rights and how to protect them.

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