Monday, August 29, 2016
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sarcoma, you may be worried about your ability to work at your current job while receiving treatment. Fortunately, there could be financial resources available for you from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Sarcoma that is advanced or recurrent automatically meets the SSA’s medical eligibility requirements. With newly diagnosed or early stage sarcoma that responds to treatment however, getting disability can be more difficult, though it is still possible.
Whether you automatically qualify or must fight a little harder to get approved, the disability application process is worth the time and effort. Disability payments are issued monthly and this consistent income can help you and your family get by without your regular paycheck.
The SSA’s Disability Programs
Disability benefits are available to individuals of any age that have a qualifying medical condition and meet the program-specific, technical eligibility requirements. Disabled workers receive benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), while applicants with limited income and other financial resources may receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) instead of SSDI.
SSI can be hard to qualify for, as it was designed for the most needy Americans. If you have a spouse
who works and earns a decent income, you will not qualify for SSI. On the plus side, if you’ve worked at least part-time throughout adulthood, you’ll almost certainly have earned enough taxable income to qualify for SSDI.
The Sarcoma Disability Listing
Every time the SSA receives an application for disability benefits, they will compare your condition to its own list of qualifying conditions, known as the Blue Book. The sarcoma disability listing requires your cancer has either spread or come back after initial treatment. If you have recurrent sarcoma, or sarcoma that has spread to another region of your body, you will automatically qualify for disability benefits. All you’ll need to apply are medical records and biopsy reports proving the advancement of your sarcoma.
Qualifying through an RFC
Although cancer and the treatments necessary to combat it are often disabling, the SSA’s disability
programs are designed specifically for people with long-term or permanent impairments and terminal
illnesses. Sarcoma that responds to treatment and will not require at least 12 months of chemotherapy,
radiation, or other anticancer therapies therefore does not usually meet eligibility rules, at least not
through the Blue Book.
Getting a disability approval outside of the Blue Book however means you must go through additional eligibility determination steps. This process, which is called a “residual functional capacity” or RFC analysis, requires the SSA looks closely at all your limitations. They will request you and your doctor complete functional reports. Others, like friends, family, or caregivers you list on application, may also be asked to complete functional report forms.
The SSA uses all of this additional information to understand your symptoms and treatment side effects as well as the limits they impose on you. If the RFC shows you’re unable to work due to your cancer and treatment side effects, then you may be approved, that is, as long as you’re likely to be out of work for the standard minimum 12-month timeframe.
Applying for Benefits
Online application is offered for SSDI. SSI applications however require a call to the SSA, at 1-800- 772-1213, or a trip to the local office. You can also apply for SSDI locally or over the phone, although filing online may be more practical and convenient.
Disability applications require the disclosure of significant details, including your employment history, education, job training, and financial situation in addition to your medical history. It’s always best to apply slowly and carefully, to ensure the SSA has all the information it needs to make a decision on your sarcoma claim.
Once approved, your family can worry less about income and focus on what’s truly important: recovery.
This article was provided by Disability Benefits Help. If you have any questions on whether or not your sarcoma qualifies for disability benefits, feel free to contact us at help@disability-benefits- help.org