Article Written By: Ram Meyyappan
One of the primary objectives of the Social Security Administration (SSA) is to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to support themselves due to a medical condition that makes it impossible for them to earn a livable income. Prostate Cancer oftentimes prevents individuals from working for a year or longer. People who are put in this situation can turn to disability benefits for financial assistance.
The Two Disability Programs:
The SSA has two main disability programs:
- The one that most people are familiar with is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is meant for individuals who have a strong work history and as a result have paid Social Security taxes in the past.
- The other program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program does not take your work history into account. SSI is a needs-based program that is meant for people have very limited income and assets.
To qualify for either program you must also meet the SSA’s definition of disability. Your medical condition must:
- Be expected to last at least a year or result in death
- Prevent you from doing the work you did before and from any other work for which you are qualified.
Prostate Cancer and Qualifying for Benefits:
The easiest way to qualify for benefits is by meeting the SSA’s listing for prostate cancer in the Blue Book. 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. In order to qualify for disability under a blue book listing, your prostate cancer must meet at least one of the following conditions:
- Recurrent after hormonal therapy
- Metastasized to your internal organs
If your symptoms do not exactly match any of the conditions listed in the Blue Book, it 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.
Submitting an Application for Disability Benefits
You can submit an application fro disability benefits either online (http://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/) or at your local SSA office. In order to receive approval, the application should be accompanied by strong medical evidence. When compiling medical evidence, it is safer to be as thorough as possible. This includes providing a comprehensive history of your treatments and hospitalizations, as well as a statement from one or more of your physicians that details your symptoms and prognosis.
What to Do if Your Application is denied
Don’t be discouraged if your initial application is denied. Almost 2/3 of applications are denied. If your application is denied you will have to submit a request for reconsideration. If that is denied as well, you will have to request to have a disability hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). This will be your only to chance to explain in person why you qualify for disability benefits.
If your claim is denied, you should strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with your claim. An attorney will be familiar with the application and appeal process. There is no upfront cost to hiring a disability attorney. These attorneys work on a contingency basis and thus are not paid unless you are awarded benefits.
Social Security Disability Help www.disability-benefits-help.org