How to Obtain Social Security Benefits for Prostate Cancer Treatment
Medical conditions are always costly, and prostate cancer certainly is no exception.
We are delighted to have a guest post today from Mr. Ram Meyyappan of Social Security Disability Help. You can find additional information at www.disability-benefits-help.org.
Please note that the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project does not provide guidance related to social security benefits nor do we endorse this organization.
However, we do believe this is useful information as prostate cancer survivors begin to explore the possibility of obtaining SSA financial support.
Mr. Meyyappan’s guest blog post follows:
Prostate Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits
One of the main functions of the Social Security Administration (SSA) is to provide financial assistance to individuals who are expected to be out of work for a year or longer due to a disability. Prostate Cancer oftentimes prevents individuals from working for a year or longer.
SSDI and SSI
When you apply for disability benefits from the SSA, there are two programs that you may qualify for including SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).
- -In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have earned enough work credits. For most people, this means working at least five of the past ten years. If you are not old enough to have worked a full ten years, you will have to have worked half of the time you have been able to work since age 18.
- -If you do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to qualify for SSI. You do not need work credits in order to qualify for SSI. Instead, SSI is a needs-based program and whether or not you qualify will depend upon your financial information in addition to meeting the disability requirements. In order to financially qualify for SSI benefits as of 2013, you must earn no more than $710 per month as an individual or $1,066 per month as a couple. You must also not have more than $2,000 in assets as an individual or $3,000 in assets as a couple.
Qualifying for Benefits with Prostate Cancer
The easiest way to qualify for benefits is by meeting the SSA’s listing for prostate cancer in the Blue Book. (http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/). The blue book is the name given to the guide created by the SSA that details how they evaluate specific medical conditions to determine a person’s eligibility. All conditions related to cancer are covered in section 13 of the Blue Book. To qualify for disability with prostate cancer, you must show that your prostate cancer is:
A. Progressive or recurrent despite initial hormonal intervention.
B. With visceral metastases (metastases to internal organs).
If your symptoms do not exactly match any of the conditions listed in the Blue Book, this does not mean that you are not eligible for benefits. It is possible to qualify for assistance based on a called medical vocational allowance. In order to qualify for benefits under a medical vocational allowance, you must provide the SSA with proof that your condition prevents you from working at your previous job or for any other job for which you are qualified.
If you are diagnosed with small cell cancer of the prostate and have the medical documentation to prove it, you will automatically qualify for benefits under the compassionate allowance program. This program is designed to speed up the disability application process for those with severe medical conditions.
You can learn more about applying for disability benefits with Prostate Cancer here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/prostate-cancer
The Disability Application Process
You can file an initial application for disability either online or at your local SSA office. Don’t be discouraged if your initial application is denied. More than 60% of initial applications are denied. If your application is denied, you will have to request a reconsideration of your claim within 60 days. If your request for reconsideration is denied as well, then you will have to request to have a disability hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). This will be your best chance of being approved for benefits as well over 50% of claims are approved at the this stage of the process.
If your claim is denied, it is in your best interest to hire a disability attorney or advocate who will be familiar with the appeals process.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help