Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits with Cancer?

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Cancer and its treatments can make even the simplest activities of daily living difficult or impossible. But you don’t have to battle the disease alone; experienced legal counsel from Arkansas social security disability attorney Ken Kieklak can help you obtain benefits.

Cancer can lead to signs and symptoms that make working impossible including:

  • An unexpected weight loss – If you have experienced a weight loss of ten pounds or more that cannot be explained, you should consult with a medical professional immediately. Pancreatic, stomach, esophageal, and lung cancer are those most likely to cause an unexplained weight loss.
  • Fatigue – Can be described as extreme tiredness that is not improved after resting. In cancers where internal bleeding occurs, like stomach and colon cancer, the fatigue can be caused by the blood loss.
  • Fever – A fever is a common sign of certain cancers like leukemia or lymphoma however it can also indicate that the cancer has metastasized, or spread, to a different part of the body.
  • Pain – Bone cancer or a tumor may cause unexplained pain. A headache that does not go away or respond to treatment can be a sign of a brain tumor. Similarly lower back pain can be caused by colon or rectal cancer.

However these are only some of the symptoms directly caused by the disease. Unfortunately the treatments for cancer can also cause debilitating nausea, vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, anemia, sexual side effects, anxiety and depression.

Working with an experienced social security disability attorney, like Ken Kieklak, can eliminate much of the stress, anxiety, and work associated with an application for disability benefits. Let us handle the legal side of things so that you can focus on your recovery.

Can I qualify for SSD benefits in Arkansas?

If you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Arkansas, you must have a sufficient work history. This is because unlike the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, SSD is an insurance program to which workers contribute.  To qualify for SSD you must have sufficient work credits for the age at which you became disabled and unable to work. Older workers require greater more work credits than younger workers. If you also apply for SSI benefits with cancer, there is no work requirement but you must have limited income or resources as defined by the SSA.

How Will the Social Security Administration Evaluate my Cancer?

If you can meet the initial work and/or income requirements, the process will proceed to the SSA’s 5-step sequential evaluation. For children a 3- step sequential process is employed. The first step of the process is concerned with whether you are currently working. If your 2014 monthly income, referred to as substantial gainful activity (SGA) by the SSA, is greater than $1,070, you will not qualify for disability benefits on account of your income.

At the second stage of the sequential process the claims examiner determines whether your impairment is considered severe. As the SSA defines it, a severe impairment is one that imposes some limitation on the things that you are able to do. Impairments that cause no limitations are not considered to be serious by the SSA. If your condition is severe, you proceed to the third step of the analysis.

The third step determines if your condition is one that the SSA recognizes as severe. If your condition is contained within the SSA’s Listed Conditions then you automatically qualify for Social Security. Many types of cancer are contained within the Social Security Administration’s section 13.00 covering malignant neoplastic diseases. Listed cancer-related conditions include:

  • Lymphona (Listing 13.05)
  • T-Cell Lymphoma (Listing 13.06)
  • Thyroid cancer (Listing 13.09)
  • Breast cancer (Listing 13.10)
  • Brain and spinal tumors (Listing 13.13)
  • Lung cancer (Listing 13.14)
  • Pancreas cancer (13.20)
  • Bladder cancer (13.22)
  • Prostate cancer (Listing 13.24)

While the particular requirements vary among the types of cancer conditions, an experienced social security disability lawyer can explain the requirements for each condition in more detail after understanding your circumstances. Furthermore, even if your type of cancer or impairment is not listed you can still qualify for disability benefits provided that the condition is medically equal to a listed condition.

Steps 4 and 5 focus on what work your are able to do despite your impairment and if there are available jobs that you could perform, respectively. If you are unable to do past work and no alternate work is available, then you qualify for Social Security benefits.

Attorney Ken Kieklak has represented hard-working Arkansans who have become injured and unable to work for 20 years. For your free and confidential Social Security benefits consultation, call (479) 251-7767 or go online.

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