People qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits based on the severity of their condition and their work history. If you have worked for long enough to qualify for SSDI, you could claim benefits when a medical condition is severe enough to prevent you from working.
Even people who may eventually recover from their condition could get SSDI benefits until they are healthy enough to go back to work, provided that their medical issues will persist for at least 12 months. The duration of cancer, its symptoms and the treatment recommended for it will all influence whether cancer will qualify someone for benefits.
Some people with cancer become incredibly ill because of the cancer spreading through their bodies. Others don’t really have severe symptoms from the cancer. However, especially if there will be a lengthy chemotherapy and radiation regimen involved, treatment for cancer may help someone qualify for SSDI benefits.
Chemotherapy and radiation have debilitating side effects
Some people will tell you that the cure is worse than the disease when coping with a cancer diagnosis. Radiation therapy can make people incredibly ill and weak. The same is true of chemotherapy.
These treatments often kill healthy tissue in addition to the cancer. The side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment include extreme nausea and weight loss, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, chronic pain, headaches and even nerve damage.
Many people undergoing chemotherapy treatments may be unable to leave their homes or even their beds on some days. They may not be able to take care of themselves without support, let alone continue working a job to earn income.
Your diagnosis and treatment plan could help you get benefits
The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks over each unique application individually. While there are some medical conditions that are more likely to receive quick approval, even those with unusual conditions or atypical symptoms can get benefits based on the SSA’s review of their medical documentation.
When your records show that you will soon complete an 18-month chemotherapy regimen, you may be able to qualify for SSDI even if the cancer itself hasn’t left you unable to work. Comparing your circumstances to the criteria for SSDI benefits can help you determine if applying would be worthwhile in your situation.