Maybe a friend mentioned you might qualify for skin cancer disability. Perhaps you stumbled upon this Social Security (SS) disability blog. However you came to wonder about SS disability and skin cancer, we are sure you have plenty of questions.
Facing cancer of any type upends plans and impacts daily living. Doctor appointments, treatments and illness affect life as you know it. Your ability to care for your family, participate in leisure activities and work change, even temporarily, as you fight this battle.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) and our firm want to help alleviate the stress of a skin cancer diagnosis. While we cannot remove all the trials you face, SS disability benefits help remove the burden by supplementing your income.
So, let’s get to some of those questions you might be asking.
Can I Receive Skin Cancer Disability Benefits?
The short answer to this question is “yes”. However, the varying degrees of severity and the multiple types of skin cancer effect whether this applies in your case. The spread of the cancer, the length of treatment and the impact of symptoms on your ability to work all play into the SSA approving your application for disability benefits.
How Do I Qualify for SS Disability Benefits?
The key to qualifying for skin cancer disability is the disease’s impact on your work. When unable to work, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) become options for you.
In short, to receive benefits you must:
— Meet SSA requirements for the Social Security skin cancer listing
The Social Security listing for skin cancer falls under Listing 13.03. You must provide evidence to support one of the following conditions:
- Skin cancer which spread outside the local lymph nodes.
- Melanoma that returns after the cancer and surrounding skin is removed.
- Melanoma which spread to four or more lymph nodes or a clinically apparent lymph node.
- Melanoma affecting skin or distant sites.
— Or, meet SSA requirements for a similar disease listing
Failing to meet the SSA requirements for skin cancer does not necessarily deny you benefits. Social Security gives you the opportunity to prove your cancer equals the severity of the listing. In other words, if the effects and limitations of your type of cancer are the same as those suggested by the SS listing for skin cancer, you qualify for benefits. Or, you may be eligible if the impact is the same as another listed disease, which the SSA recognizes as equal to skin cancer.
— Or, be unable to reasonably work a job
Without medical evidence to support an SSA skin cancer listing, you still have a shot at disability benefits. Some skin cancers respond to minimal treatments and therefore, produce minimal problems at work. However, longer lasting cancers and their associated treatments reduce your ability to work. The SSA considers 12 months a defining time frame for disability.
For instance, chemotherapy and radiation lead to pain, fatigue, nausea, decreased memory and decreased sensation in fingers and toes. The severity of these side effects of treatment impact your ability to work. If you cannot reasonably perform any job duties, even temporarily, you qualify for benefits. The risk of sun exposure for outdoor workers is considered as well.
What Evidence Do I Need to Support my Case?
Medical records offer the best support for your disability case. Focused evidence includes the type of cancer, where it started and where it spread (if it did). Operative and pathology reports from any biopsies further support your claim. The SSA also asks for information on the type, length and effects of any skin cancer treatments.
Whether you meet the SSA requirements for skin cancer or another listing, reports and notes from your doctor and other medical professionals get your message across to the SSA. Accurate and thorough medical documentation decreases delays and improves the chance of receiving skin care disability benefits. The earlier in the process evidence is submitted, the shorter the decision-making process takes.
When presenting non-medical evidence to support your inability to work, the process gets a little trickier. The SSA takes into consideration the work you are capable of doing and your limitations due to the disease. This Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment includes physical and mental components and is filled out by your doctor or a DDS physician. It proves in your best interest for your doctor to complete the forms.
Where Do I Go if I Still Have Questions?
Without a doubt, cancer raises all kinds of questions. The confusing nature and language of the SSA system often fails to present clear answers. Qualified, experienced disability representatives consider the unique aspects of your case and offer valuable knowledge.
To get more answers to your questions about skin care disability benefits, contact us today.