You remember the moment when you were first diagnosed with breast cancer. Time stopped, and you didn’t hear most of what the doctor was saying—you just shut down, panicked and unable to speak. The doctor tried to reassure you, saying that the abnormal cells were detected very early, and although you would need immediate treatment, you have a great chance at a full recovery.
Now that you have had a lumpectomy and several outpatient visits at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, you finally feel like you can begin to make plans for the future. However, you still aren’t well enough to work—and the Social Security Administration (SSA) seems reluctant to give you disability payments for your condition.
Disability Benefits Are Reserved for Those Who Are Unable to Work
To understand why your benefits were denied, it helps to examine how the SSA classifies a person as disabled. The SSA provides benefits to people who are most in need—in most cases, this means people who are unable to perform any work at all. Although cancer is undoubtedly a serious and deadly disease, its symptoms may not prevent you from earning a living while you undergo treatment.
For example, breast cancer patients may be denied benefits if they have been diagnosed with one of the following:
- Ductal carcinoma. Ductal carcinoma in situ, sometimes called Stage 0 breast cancer, means that you have abnormal cells in the lactiferous ducts of the breasts. About 20 percent of breast cancer diagnoses that result from early screening are Stage 0. The cells may or may not be malignant, have not spread to any other part of the body, and usually respond well to treatment.
- Stage 1. While Stage 1 cancer does have abnormal cells invading the surrounding breast tissue, the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes and remains localized in the breast.
- Small tumors. Tumors that are classified as Stage 1 or Stage 2 are generally under 2 cm, have not spread into the lymph nodes or other parts of the body, and can be well treated with a lumpectomy and radiation.
If you are having trouble working due to the side effects of your breast cancer treatment, you may wish to appeal your Social Security benefit denial. Click the contact link on this page to ask us a question about your case or to schedule a confidential case evaluation. We are here to help.