Friday, March 6, 2015

Cancer and Social Security Disability

Can I Qualify for Social Security Benefits If I Have Cancer?

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, depending on the type of cancer and how serious your prognosis, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. These benefits could be crucial to your ability to survive financially during your treatment if you cannot work.

To be considered disabled, you must not be able to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) because of a physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death (like some cancer diagnoses), or that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

As far as defining SGA, work is “substantial” if significant physical or mental activities, or a combination, are involved. “Gainful” work is performed for pay or profit or generally performed or intended for pay or profit.

Your disabling cancer can be listed as well as other diagnoses you may have, such as another physical (diabetes or heart disease) or psychological (depression) issue, including the side effects of the cancer or its treatment.

If your diagnosis matches a listing of serious illnesses expected to be fatal, your application may be approved much faster than those with other diagnoses, under the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program.

There are two types of benefits.
• Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to those who are considered disabled and who are covered by your contributions (or contributions by your spouse or parents) to the Social Security trust fund. Part of those benefits would be Medicare coverage, but there would be at least a two year waiting period.
• If your contributions are insufficient and you have limited income and assets, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).This could provide you cash assistance payments and immediate Medicaid coverage. The program is funded from general tax revenues, not contributions from earnings into Social Security.
• Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for both programs.
Once you start to recover, you might be able to start working again without losing your benefits.

The Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart is experienced with helping clients with Social Security disability benefits. Our attorneys serve clients in Warren and Barren Counties and throughout Kentucky. Call today at (888)782-9090 to learn how we can help.