A breast cancer diagnosis can be frightening for anyone. Depending on the type of breast cancer and its severity, a patient diagnosed with cancer may suffer severe symptoms that become debilitating. The side effects from chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments can also cause crippling symptoms. When patients require mastectomies, they need time off from work to recover from intensive surgery. Many breast cancer patients become unable to continue working as they navigate through the drastic effects of their treatment.
Discuss Your Case With a Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney
The experienced Social Security disability lawyers at Disability Advocates Group understand the pain and difficulties patients with cancer undergo. We work diligently to help individuals who can no longer work due to a breast cancer diagnosis or the effects of their treatment to qualify for Social Security disability benefits they need and deserve. Contact Disability Advocates Group today to schedule your initial consultation.
Common Breast Cancer Treatments
For those diagnosed with breast cancer, every treatment plan is unique. However, in most cases, the initial treatment will typically involve surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and determine if cancer has spread to the patient’s lymph nodes. A mastectomy and breast reconstruction may become necessary. Doctors also use chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor or kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Hormone therapy can also be used to reduce the risk of cancer spreading or returning. Doctors also use targeted therapy designed to block the growth and spread of cancer cells. When cancer has spread outside of the breast into the lymph nodes, it has metastasized.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability With Breast Cancer
The Social Security Administration does recognize breast cancer as an impairment in the Blue Book. Those with breast cancer can obtain Social Security disability benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. However, not everyone with a breast cancer diagnosis will qualify for these benefits. Instead, the Social Security examiner will consider multiple factors when evaluating malignant neoplastic diseases including the following:
- The origin of the cancer
- The extent of involvement
- The duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy
- Effects of any post-therapeutic residuals
Qualifying for Social Security disability after being diagnosed with breast cancer isn’t always easy. Patients must be able to present evidence from their doctors and other medical providers to prove the following about their diagnosis:
- The breast cancer has spread to the skin, chest, or internal mammary nodes
- The cancer has spread below or above the collarbone, spread to 10 or more nearby axillary nodes, or metastasized to other areas of the body
- The cancer has returned after receiving anticancer treatment
- The breast cancer is inoperable
Proving You Will Be Out of Work for 12 Months or More
If you would like to apply for benefits but you don’t meet the medical listing requirements, you may be able to qualify by submitting hospital records and physician records that show you will be out of work for at least 12 months. The most common way to be approved for disability benefits is by undergoing a Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) evaluation. During this evaluation, your treating doctor will complete a long form that details information about your general health.
Your educational background will play an essential role in this process. For example, suppose you went to college. In that case, the Social Security Administration could decide that you can qualify for sedentary work, even if you do have severe symptoms from your cancer or treatment. Women who have been employed as construction workers, in a factory, or doing manual labor sometimes have a better chance to qualify for benefits.
Compassionate Allowance for Severe Breast Cancer Cases
In severe cases, the patient may qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. With a Compassionate Allowance, the Social Security Administration can expedite the application process, allowing the patient to obtain benefits after applying quickly. If your condition becomes worse while you are waiting for the Social Security Administration to make a decision, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
The Social Security Administration has stated that certain severe types of breast cancer qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. When the diagnosis meets certain criteria, or the patient has a poor prognosis, they may qualify for benefits. The five-year survival rate for cancer that has spread to other parts of the body is about 20 percent. If you have been diagnosed with one of the following types of breast cancer, you may qualify for a Compassionate Allowance:
- Metastatic lobular cancer
- Breast carcinoma (stage IV)
- Metastatic breast carcinoma
- Ductal carcinoma of the breast (stage IV)
- Metastatic breast cancer
- Lobular carcinoma of the breast (stage IV)
- Metastatic ductal carcinoma and metastatic ductal cancer
Why You Need an Experienced Social Security Attorney
If you do not hire an attorney, there’s a chance you won’t be able to cross-examine the vocational or medical expert at your disability hearing. You may not know what type of questions the administrative law judge will ask you. All of these factors can make it less likely that you’ll win your case at the disability hearing level. At Disability Advocates Group, we will provide you with excellent legal representation throughout the process, including at the disability hearing. If you have a severe form of breast cancer, we can help you request a Compassionate Allowance that will quickly give you and your family the benefits you need.
Contact a Los Angeles Breast Cancer Disability Attorney Today
Disability benefits can be an important source of income for patients with breast cancer who can no longer work. If you can no longer work because of your diagnosis or your cancer treatments, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits or long-term disability benefits. Contact Disability Advocates Group today to learn more about how our Los Angeles Social Security attorneys can help you every step of the way.