Bladder cancer is the fourth-most common cancer in men and the ninth-most common cancer in women. More than 72,000 Americans are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year; about 75 percent of those who are diagnosed are men.

Symptoms of bladder cancer include:

  • Tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal pain

Nearly half of all bladder cancers are detected early while there are many treatment options. The five-year survival rate for Stage-0 and Stage-I bladder cancers are 98 and 88 percent. However, bladder cancer often reoccurs. Recurrent bladder cancer may be more difficult to treat.

Most people are able to continue working while being treated for bladder cancer. However, working may not be an option if the cancer is advanced or if there is a bad reaction to the treatment. Some people with bladder cancer may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI).

There are three ways to qualify for SSDI for bladder cancer:

  • You can meet the requirements of a Compassionate Allowances listing.
  • You can meet or equal the requirements of disability listing 13.22, urinary bladder carcinoma.
  • You can be approved if your physical and/ or mental limitations are severe enough to prevent you from returning to your past work or due any other work for one year or longer.

The Compassionate Allowances Program

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers fast-track processing for people with certain severe disabilities. Applicants who qualify for the Compassionate Allowances Program can receive a decision within weeks rather than waiting months. You can qualify for a compassionate allowance if you have medical documentation that your cancer is inoperable, cannot be completely removed, or has spread to other parts of your body.

Disability Listing 13.22

The Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments is a list of medical conditions with guidelines that determine whether an applicant is disabled. An applicant that meets the requirements outlined in a listing will be considered disabled by the SSA.

To qualify for benefits under disability listing 13.22, urinary bladder carcinoma, you must provide medical documentation of one of the following:

  • Your cancer has infiltrated beyond the bladder wall (Stage 3)
  • Your cancer has reoccurred after a total cystectomy
  • Your cancer is inoperable or unresectable (cannot be removed by surgery)
  • Your cancer has spread to other parts of the body or beyond the regional lymph nodes (Stage 4)

Qualifying for Disability Benefits Based on Inability to Perform Past Work or Any Other Work

There are options if you will be unable to work for at least one year but do not meet or equal a disability listing. If you do not qualify for SSDI under the Compassionate Allowance Program or disability listing 13.22, the SSA will assess your ability to work based on your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC refers to what type of work you can do during a regular, 40-hour workweek.

The SSA will consider your ability to perform basic work functions like sitting, standing, lifting, and carrying. They will look at whether you can exert yourself, how long you can sit or stand in an eight-hour period, and whether you have mental limtiations that affect your ability to work  Nexf SSA will look to see if you canf perform your past work based on your RFC. If you are able to perform your past work you will be found not disabled. If you are unable to perfrom your past work then SSA moves on to the last step.They will then determine if there is any type of work you can do based on your RFC. If the SSA determines that you can work, your SSDI application will be denied.

If you are denied SSDI but believe you can’t work, you have a right to appeal the decision. Our Omaha disability lawyers can help you with the appeal. We’ll determine if your RFC was calculated correctly and if there is additional information that can help you case. To learn how a Nebraska SSDI lawyer can help you, request a free copy of our booklet, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim or contact us for more details.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska