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Did you know!  


Inflammatory Breast Cancer is on the list of diseases that automatically qualify for DISABILITY INSURANCE  and so the ability to properly diagnose and treat this disease should also be treated with a similar level of urgency.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) launched theCompassionate Allowancesprogram, it listed 100 diseases and other medical conditions—primarily neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases—that qualify for “fast track” SSD benefit decisions in just days, not months.¨  Please read below:


Apart of Fighting 4 the Tatas Breast Cancer mission is to share all of the knowledge that we have to our community.  So, we teamed up with Deanna Power, Director of outreach of Disability and her team to help bring to you a road map to helping you get your SSD benefits.  


                                                            Qualifying for Social Security Benefits With Breast Cancer


Have you been diagnosed with breast cancer? If so, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. A breast cancer diagnosis does not automatically qualify, but if you have advanced breast cancer or if you’ll be unable to work for a year or more, you might be eligible for financial aid.

Medically Qualifying With Breast Cancer


The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the governing organization that manages the Social Security program. To qualify for benefits, you’ll usually need to meet a listing in the SSA’s medical guide known as the Blue Book. The Blue Book outlines exactly how advanced breast cancer needs to be to qualify. You’ll be approved if you can meet one of the following criteria:

  • You have IBC or metastatic breast cancer*
  • Your cancer has spread to 10 or more auxiliary nodes
  • Your cancer is inoperable
  • Your cancer has returned despite one round of treatment
  • You had secondary lymphedema that required surgery and you subsequently lost the use of an arm


*IBC and metastatic breast cancer are so clearly disabling, the SSA typically approves these conditions in just a couple of weeks.

The entire Blue Book is available online, so you can review the breast cancer listing with your oncologist to determine if you qualify. Typically anyone with Stage III-B breast cancer or beyond will medically qualify.

Qualifying With an Earlier Stage of Breast Cancer


If your cancer isn’t Stage III-B or more, you might still qualify for disability benefits. You’ll need to meet both of the following criteria to do so:

1.   Your cancer treatments will last for at least a year, and
2.   Your treatments and cancer complications make it impossible for you to earn at least $1,170 per month (in 2017).

These types of approvals are known as Medical Vocational Allowances. It’s essentially the SSA’s way of acknowledging that while you may not medically qualify, you’re unable to earn gainful income. Qualifying for a Medical Vocational Allowance will vary wildly depending on your unique treatment plan, prognosis, and work history.

For example, a young woman with Stage II breast cancer who works remotely as a graphic designer might have a tough time qualifying. The SSA will argue that she has a lot of skills that could be applied to sedentary jobs.

A 55-year-old grocery store manager would have an easier time qualifying with Stage II breast cancer, especially if she’s always had physical jobs. She could argue that chemotherapy will prevent her from standing for more than two hours per day, meaning she’d be unable to earn more than a few hundred dollars per month.

If you know you won’t qualify via the Blue Book, ask your oncologist to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation on your behalf. The SSA uses this standard document to determine how much work you can do daily. You can download an RFConline.

Starting Your Application


Most applicants can complete the entire process online. This is the easiest way to apply. You won’t need to mail anything in—Simply list the hospitals where you’ve received treatment and the SSA will gather your medical history on your behalf.

If you’d prefer, you can also apply in person by making an appointment at your closest Social Security office. There are well over 1,000 offices across the country. You can schedule an appointment to apply by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

Helpful Links:

The Blue Book listing for breast cancer
: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/13.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Adult.htm#13_10

Medical Vocational Allowance: https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/glossary/medical-vocational-allowance

Download an RFC:https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms/images/SSA4/G-SSA-4734-U8-1.pdf

Apply online: https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib

Local SSA offices:https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations

More information on qualifying with breast cancer
:https://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/breast-cancer

“This article was provided to us Deanna Power, Director of Outreach from Disability Benefits Help, an independent organization dedicated to helping people of all ages receive the Social Security benefits they need. If you have any questions on how to qualify, feel free to reach out to Deanna Power and the team at help@ssd-help.org.