I have cancer. Do I have a valid claim for disability benefits?

There is nothing as frightening as a diagnosis of cancer, and the last thing you want to worry about at this time is your financial health. However, with cancer often comes treatments and chemotherapy that may leave you unable to work for an extended period of time.

Fortunately, you could be eligible for certain types of disability benefits. Depending on the nature of your diagnosis and the types of treatment you may need, you may have a valid claim for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Determining if you have a valid claim

In order for a Tennessee applicant to receive SSDI benefits, you must meet the requirements outlined by the Social Security Administration. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Must have an employment history that includes having enough money taken out of paychecks for Social Security
  • Must meet the Social Security Administration’s strict definition of disability
  • Must have a disability expected to keep you from working for a period of time lasting at least one year

If you are eligible for SSDI benefits, the amount will depend on how long you worked and how much money you paid into the system. A denied claim is frustrating, but it is not the end of the road. You have the right to appeal or reapply as necessary.

What happens if you are not eligible?

Even if you have a cancer diagnosis and will be unable to work for a considerable period, you may not receive approval for SSDI benefits. This may feel like a step back, but you still could be eligible for SSI benefits. Completely separate from SSDI benefits, eligibility for SSI benefits depends on medical conditions and financial need.

In order to receive SSI benefits, you will have to present proof of a valid medical condition, current income levels and financial need.

Pursuit of your rightful benefits

It is not always easy to secure disability benefits, even if you have a valid claim and you meet eligibility requirements. If you wish to apply for disability after a cancer diagnosis, you would be wise to work with a lawyer who can help you complete the initial application and overcome any roadblocks that may stand between you and your rightful benefits. A cancer diagnosis can impact every area of your life, but you do not have to navigate this particular area alone.