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SSDI- Can I get benefits for prostate cancer?

Winning SSDI for prostate cancer

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer you might believe that you are automatically disabled and no longer able to work. Maybe you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income?  While many types of cancers may be considered automatically disabling (see Compassionate Allowance) many types are not.  So the question we will discuss is, "Can I get benefits for prostate cancer?"
English: Micrograph showing prostatic acinar a...

For cancers of all types the SSA is generally evaluating whether there is a probability of progression. According to the SSA, if your cancer has “metastasized beyond the regional lymph nodes” and they believe it is likely that you will have cancer in other regions, you may be able to prove that you are disabled and unable to work.

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer the Social Security Administration will evaluate several factors to determine your level of impairment: the amount the cancer has spread to other tissues, how you have responded to therapy, the residual impairments you have following your treatment plan, the type of cancer and the location of the cancer.

The SSA will also determine whether or not you will be out of work for at least 12 continuous months. For prostate cancer, if it is caught early, you may be able to have surgery to remove the cancerous growth and return to work within several months, especially if you work a non-physical, sedentary job. If this is the case it is unlikely that you will qualify for SSI or SSDI.

Meeting a Listing on the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments for Prostate Cancer

The SSA has two methods of determining whether a claimant is disabled and unable to work: by meeting a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments or proving through a medical vocational allowance that the claimant cannot work.

Prostate Cancer does have a listing under 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, Section 13.24 Prostate Gland- Carcinoma. Under this listing the claimant must prove that the cancer is progressive or recurrent despite initial hormonal intervention or they have visceral metastases to internal organs.

Consider, although prostate cancer has listing, just having a diagnosis for prostate cancer will not guarantee that you will be awarded SSDI or SSI benefits. Both disability programs have other nonmedical requirements which you must meet to get benefits. Additionally, your condition must “meet or exceed” the listing above.

Winning benefits for Prostate Cancer through a medical vocational allowance

You may also win SSDI or SSI benefits for prostate cancer if you can prove through a medical vocational allowance that you cannot perform substantial gainful activity. Winning benefits through a medical vocational allowance can be difficult. It is important to show how the cancer treatments such as the medications or chemotherapy affect your ability to work. Your medical records should clearly indicate your work limitations for instance:

  1. Does the prostate cancer treatment leave you weak, tired, nauseous or vomiting?

  2. Do you have to take high levels of medication that may make it unsafe for you to work?

  3. What is your schedule for treatment?

  4. Do you have radiation or chemotherapy treatments which make it impossible to complete an eight hour work day?

  5. Have you had reactive mental disorders, cardiovascular complications, gastrointestinal symptoms or neurological complications?

Combinations of limitations may make it possible to prove that you do not have the capacity to continue to work. Talk to a disability lawyer for more information.
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