SSDI Provides Safety Net for Those With Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer

If you were recently diagnosed with breast cancer, you probably have many questions for your doctor:

  • Will I be ok?
  • How sick will I get?
  • How long will my treatment take?
  • Will there be side effects?

And, you have questions your doctor can’t answer:

  • Will I be able to care for my children?
  • How long will I be able to work?
  • What will happen if I can’t work?

Our Omaha Social Security disability attorneys have worked with many women who have breast cancer. Most women with breast cancer are able to continue working, but may need to take time off for treatments. However, those with recurrent or advanced-stage breast cancer can become too sick to work. If your family depends on your income to make ends meet, not being able to work can be a huge concern and burden. Social Security benefits can help.

When you work, a portion of each paycheck goes to Social Security Administration. That money is available to you if you become too sick to work. However, you must meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive benefits.

In order to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, you must be unable to hold a job because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death. To receive SSDI for breast cancer, you must have a diagnosis of breast cancer and medical evidence of one of the following:

  • You have locally advanced breast cancer that extends into the skin, the muscle, or the chest wall, or involves multiple lymph nodes, or with tumors that are greater than 5 mm in diameter.
  • You have inflammatory breast cancer.
  • Your breast cancer that has spread to at least 10 underarm lymph nodes, or to lymph nodes above or below the collarbone, or has spread to other parts of the body.
  • You have recurrent breast cancer (local recurrences that respond to treatment do not qualify).
  • Your symptoms and resulting limitations from breast cancer will prevent you from working for at least a year.

To receive SSDI benefits for breast cancer, you must provide documentation of your diagnosis and treatment. You will need to provide the SSA with the following:

  • Lab test results
  • Biopsy records
  • Pathology reports
  • Oncology reports
  • Family doctor’s notes
  • Any treatment records from a hospital or clinic
  • A letter from your oncologist describing how your breast cancer or treatment plan prevents you from being able to work for pay

To qualify for SSDI, you must also have been employed for at least five of the ten years before your breast cancer diagnosis. Among a few other stipulations, if you do not meet the requirements for SSDI, you may qualify for Social Security Income (SSI) benefits.

It takes several months to process an SSDI application. If you are seriously ill, you may not have time to wait for benefits. The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program allows faster processing for this with certain medical conditions. Women with stage IV or widespread inoperable breast cancer may qualify for fast track processing.

What happens if your SSDI application is rejected? A rejection doesn’t mean that you do not qualify for disability benefits. Most rejections are based on inadequate documentation of the disability.

To learn more, request a free copy of our brochure, Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case, or contact Cuddigan Law today at 402-933-5405. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case.

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience