Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men and women. Unfortunately, it is difficult to detect. Although the number of new cases has decreased as more people have stopped smoking and because of better detection and treatment, thousands of California residents are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. If you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, you may be entitled to monthly Social Security disability benefits.
Discuss Your Lung Cancer Claim with a Los Angeles Disability Benefits Attorney
Depending on the type of lung cancer you have been diagnosed with, you may automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Many people diagnosed also have other conditions such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema that prevent them from working full time. Contact the experienced Social Security disability lawyers at Disability Advocates Group to schedule your free case evaluation.
Qualifying for Disability Benefits WIth Lung Cancer
The Social Security Administration recognizes that lung cancer is one of the most serious and aggressive types of cancer. For that reason, if your diagnosis falls into one of three categories, the Social Security Administration will consider whether your diagnosis is severe enough to meet the disability requirements for it. As long as you meet all the other general requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your application will likely be approved. The three categories of lung cancer that are severe enough to qualify you for benefits include:
- Non-small cell that meets specific requirements
- Small cell
- Cancer in the superior sulcus that has undergone one or more types of treatment, such as surgery and/or radiation
Residual Functional Capacity
Suppose you’ve been diagnosed with lung cancer, but your condition doesn’t need the three qualifying criteria in the Social Security Administration’s listing book, called the Blue Book. In that case, you may still be able to qualify for benefits. The Social Security Administration examiner who reviews your case will consider your residual functional capacity (RFC). If your residual functional capacity limits what you could do to the point where you can’t perform your previous job, the Administration will consider your education, age, and experience.
They will determine whether you are able to do any kind of work. If your lung cancer and symptoms associated with your lung cancer are so serious that you can’t perform any job, you will be granted benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. When deciding whether you are eligible for these benefits, the examiner will consider your medical records, your own statement as to how your symptoms limit your ability to function, and potentially other people’s statements.
Social Security Benefits and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
In order to recover benefits for non-small cell conditions, you will need to provide medical records showing that your lung cancer is one or more of the following:
- Unresectable (not all of the cancer was removed during surgery)
- It has spread or metastasized to or past the Hilar lymph nodes
The Hilar lymph nodes are located where the lymphatic arteries, vessels, and veins enter the lungs. If you qualify for benefits because your lung cancer has spread beyond the Hilar lymph nodes, you will still qualify even if a distant metastatic tumor has been treated or removed successfully.
Social Security Benefits and Small Cell Lung Cancer
A simple diagnosis of small cell lung cancer will automatically make you eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. You will not need to provide evidence demonstrating the severity of your lung cancer. A diagnosis is enough to automatically qualify you. However, you will need to show that it meets the general non-medical requirements for the Social Security Administration benefits program to which you are applying, whether it is SSDI or SSI.
Receiving Compassionate Allowance for Certain Types of Cancers
The Social Security Administration recognizes that some medical conditions are so serious that a simple diagnosis means that a patient is severely disabled enough to qualify. These types of medical conditions are considered compassionate allowance conditions. Small cell lung cancer automatically qualifies as a compassionate allowance condition. As a result, when you apply for Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration will expedite your application.
You’ll need to provide medical records demonstrating that you have been diagnosed with a small-cell variation and that you meet all of the non-medical requirements. Additionally, severe cases of non-small cell variations are also considered conditions that automatically qualify an individual for a compassionate allowance. If your non-small cell lung cancer is inoperable, recurrent, unresectable, or has reached past the Hilar nodes, you will also be entitled to a compassionate allowance.
Appealing a Denial of Your Social Security Application
The majority of first-time Social Security disability applications are denied. If you received a letter informing you that your application has been denied, don’t give up. You have the right to request a reconsideration of your case. If the reconsideration is denied, you can appeal and request a disability hearing.
At Disability Advocates Group, we focus our entire law firm on helping Los Angeles area residents obtain the Social Security benefits they deserve. We can help you appeal your case, advocating for you during the hearing and throughout the entire process. However, there are strict deadlines for appealing your case, so the sooner you talk to an attorney, the better.
Contact a Lung Cancer Social Security Disability Attorney in Los Angeles
If you are unable to work due to a lung cancer diagnosis, you may be entitled to disability benefits that could help you and your family. If you have already applied for benefits and you have been denied, don’t give up. The skilled attorneys at Disability Advocates Group are here to help. We can help you submit an application for benefits or help you appeal the denial of your benefits. Contact our Los Angeles area disability law firm today to schedule your free case evaluation.