If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, without a doubt you have many questions on your mind. One of the most frequent questions we hear from women with breast cancer is: “What will happen if I can’t work?”

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. This is where we at Cuddigan Law have been able to help many women with breast cancer qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

When you work, a portion of each paycheck goes to the 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 benefits you must have a diagnosis of breast cancer and medical evidence of at least one of these conditions:

-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 milimeters in diameter.

-You have inflammatory breast cancer.

-Your breast cancer 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…Or

-You have recurrent breast cancer. Local recurrences that respond to treatment do not qualify.

Additionally, you must provide medical evidence that your symptoms and resulting limitations from breast cancer will prevent you from working for at least a year.

To win a case for benefits for breast cancer, you must provide documentation of your diagnosis and treatment. You will need to provide Social Security with lab test results, biopsy records, pathology reports, oncology reports, doctor’s notes, any treatment records from a hospital or clinic, and a letter from your oncologist describing how your breast cancer or treatment plan prevents you from being able to hold a job.

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

If your disability application is rejected, don’t give up. A rejection doesn’t mean that you do not qualify for disability benefits. Most rejections are based on inadequate documentation of the disability and you have the right to appeal a denial. To learn more, contact us Cuddigan Law for a free evaluation of your case. You can call us at ( 402) 933-5405 or email us at [email protected].



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