Prostate Cancer: Survival And Beyond Navigating Short Term And Long Term Disability
A prostate cancer diagnosis is a devastating moment that 1 in 8* men will experience in their lifetime. But its the many moments after the initial shock when the disease can truly takes its physical, mental and emotional toll.
Battling prostate cancer and coping with the residual effects of treatment can be very taxing. During and after treatment many men of working age who want to return to work encounter a variety of challenges.
Sometimes a survivor may not able to return to his previous job or take on any form of employment as physical, cognitive or psychological limitations might make certain tasks difficult or impossible to complete. If the work is labour intensive, requires heavy lifting or is otherwise physically demanding, some survivors may no longer be able to perform their previous tasks as effortlessly as they used to.
Many survivors also struggle with cognitive or psychological issues. They might have difficulty keeping pace with their colleagues, concentrating, processing data and/or providing analysis and they may struggle when faced with learning new tasks.
If it is determined that return to work is not possible, either in the short-term or the long-term, a survivor may be entitled to receive disability benefits available to them through their employer or private health benefits they have purchased on their own.
by Prostate Cancer News | Apr 20, 2018 | For Patients |
Medically Qualifying With the Blue Book
Starting Your Disability Application
Early Stage Prostate Cancer And Disability Benefits
When caught early and appropriately treated, most prostate cancers are survivable. Some men also do not experience significant, lasting side effects or complications from their cancer or cancer treatments. Every patient is different. If you, however, are unable to continue working after diagnosis and treatment, then you may be able to qualify for benefits despite not meeting the SSAs disability listing.
A residual functional capacity or RFC analysis is necessary to get benefits without meeting a listed disability. Through this additional review, the SSA examines your daily limitations caused by your cancer, cancer treatments, and by any other medical conditions you may have. If they find your limitations prevent you from working in any job for which you possess the education, training, or skills, then you will be found eligible for benefits.
Prostate Cancer And Your Residual Functional Capacity
The SSA bases your residual functional capacity findings on your current medical evidence and your symptoms. They then use this information to determine if you condition keeps you from working.
In order to figure out your RFC, the SSA will examine your medical records. They will take into account what your doctor states in your medical records. Also, the SSA will review any statements from your doctors. Likewise, if they need more information, they may send you to a consultative examination. Learn more here about what to expect at SSAs consultative exam.
The SSA will also consider descriptions about your condition from your family, neighbors and friends. For example, your family or friends could write a statement about the fatigue or pain you experience from your cancer. Find out more here about RFC and how it combines with age to eliminate work. Also, find out more about SSAs Medical Vocational Guidelines here.
Your RFC is important because it determines, after considering your condition, whether you can still do any type of work. If you have an RFC that limits you from doing certain tasks or types of jobs, then SSDI benefits are an important source of income.
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Are Cancer Patients Eligible For Ssdi
Unfortunately, receiving a cancer diagnosis is not enough to qualify for SSDI. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers for men in the U.S., but it does have a high 5-year survival rate . For that reason, the Social Security Administration needs to see evidence of significant disability or trauma related to cancer.
Some cancers, like liver cancer and brain cancer, automatically qualify a person for SSDI. But prostate cancer patients have to provide medical evidence to support their claim.
What Documents Are Necessary For Ssdi
The SSA uses a strict set of guidelines to determine who qualifies and who doesnt. Theyll be looking to see if:
- The patient has debilitating long-term side effects
- Whether cancer has spread and is not expected to respond to treatment
- If surgery or treatment is not successful
- Whether you are disabled as a result of your diagnosis
- If cancer comes back
In order to meet these guidelines, patients must provide documentation as evidence. This might include pathology reports, operative notes, hospitalization summaries, and other documents. The evidence should specify the type of cancer, the extent of its involvement, the site of primary cancer, and any recurrent or metastatic information. A more in-depth explanation of what theyre looking for is available on the SSA website.
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How Can I Find Out More About Ssdi
- Visit www.ssa.gov online choose disability
- Visit ssabest.benefits.gov to learn about Social Security benefits you might be eligible for including SSDI
- Go to your nearest Social Security office
You can find out how much you would get from SSDI by looking at your Social Security statement. The statement shows your work history and an estimate of what your benefits would be at this time. To get a Social Security statement:
- Request a statement online through Social Securitys website at www.ssa.gov. Click on My Social Security on the left side of the page.
Note that SSDI is different from SSI .
SSI is for people who didnt pay enough into Social Security during their working years, or who havent worked recently enough to qualify for SSDI. However, some people who were employed for short times or whose income was very low may qualify for both SSDI and SSI because their SSDI payment is so low. In that case, the SSI payment is reduced by the amount of SSDI the person gets. See more information on Supplemental Security Income .
If Your Prostate Cancer Does Not Meet The Requirements Of Social Securitys Impairment Listing But You Are Still Unable To Work Full
Social Security will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity assessment to evaluate what work-related tasks you are still capable of performing. Social Security will consider how long you can walk, stand, or sit and how much weight you can lift, as well as what accommodations you might need, like frequent restroom breaks. Prostate cancer patients need to urinate frequently and often have pain and stiffness in their hips and back. If Social Security finds that, given your RFC limitations, age, education level, and job skills, there are no jobs you can do, you can be granted disability benefits via a medical-vocational allowance.
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Compassionate Allowances And Disability Benefits
Some forms of cancer are clearly disabling and warrant immediate approval. The SSA started its Compassionate Allowance program to expedite the claims of people who would almost certainly be approved during the typical review process. Cancers that qualify for a Compassionate Allowance with just a diagnosis include:
- Any small cell cancer
Additionally, nearly any form of cancer will qualify as a Compassionate Allowance so long as one of the following conditions is met:
- Your cancer is inoperable
- Your cancer has returned despite anticancer treatment
- Your cancer has spread to other organs
You wont need to file any additional paperwork to qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. The SSA will expedite your claim upon receipt. You could be approved in as little as 10 days, bypassing the sometimes 2+-year waiting period. Unfortunately, this is where the compassion ends. Regardless of how quickly youre approved, you will need to wait at least five months before receiving your first payment, and you will not be eligible for Medicare until 24 months after you cancer became advanced enough to keep you from working. Be sure to keep this in mind if you do not have another insurance option.
Is It Common For Prostate Cancer Patients To Qualify For Ssdi
As long as the criteria are met, its fairly common for people with prostate cancer to get approved for SSDI. The treatment for any cancer can be very intense. It usually involves a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. Not to mention, these life-saving treatments can have serious side effects. Prostate cancer can also spread to other parts of the body, especially the bones. When this happens, the patient is much more likely to receive approval for SSDI. However, patients who were recently diagnosed or who are just starting treatment may have a more difficult time getting approved.
If you cant work because of prostate cancer, you deserve disability income. Even if you were denied for SSDI, theres still a chance you may be eligible. Contact Disability Support Services in Baltimore, MD. Were here to help patients with cancer, including prostate cancer, navigate the Social Security Disability Insurance process. Whether youre thinking about applying for the first time or want to appeal the SSAs decision, our team is on standby. Call us at 410-244-0006 or fill out our online form.
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Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits online via the SSAs web site or in person at your local Social Security office. When applying, you will be asked to fill out a number of forms including the Adult Disability Report and the disability application. In addition to filling out these forms, you will also need to be able to supply the SSA with the medical evidence that you have gathered to support your disability claim, such as copies of your treatment history, laboratory reports, imaging results, and written statements from your treating physicians.
This article has been kindly provided by Ram Meyyappan of Social Security Disability Help. Since 2009, Social Security Disability Help has provided information to individuals who are seeking to apply for Social Security Disability benefits or have been denied after applying for Social Security Disability.
Though Its Not Clear What Causes Prostate Cancer Researchers Have Noted Some Risk Factors:
- Older age. The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer increases after age 50.
- Family history. A man who has a relative diagnosed with prostate cancer or has a history of breast cancer in his family has a higher risk of prostate cancer.
- Race. For indeterminable reasons, black men have a greater risk of prostate cancer and developing a more aggressive type.
- Obesity. Though there is no clear data that supports obesity as an increased risk, prostate cancer in men who are obese is typically more aggressive and more likely to return after initial treatment.
Contact a Social Security disability attorney at 512-454-4000 for a free consultation and see if you can get disability benefits while suffering from Prostate Cancer. If you have been denied disability dont give up!
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How To Apply For Disability When You Have Prostate Cancer
With advanced or recurrent prostate cancer, disability approval is automatic. Highly aggressive forms of the disease, like oat cell carcinoma, are quickly approved by the Social Security Administration as well.
When the disease is caught early and can be successfully treated though, benefit approval may be more challenging but is still possible, particularly for men who experience severe residual impairments cancer and the required treatments. These individuals may qualify for benefits, even when they dont SSAs standard prostate cancer disability requirements.
Compassionate Allowance For Small Cell Cancer Of The Prostate
The SSA has a program where they award benefits quickly when an individual has cancer and they are not expected to survive. Therefore, a compassionate allowance is available for men who have a certain type of prostate cancer: small cell cancer of the prostate. Small cell cancer of the prostate is rare. It accounts for less than one percent of all prostate cancers.
Because most prostate cancers grow slowly, there is the possibility of curing the cancer. However, small cell prostate cancers metastasize quickly. More importantly, small cell carcinomas do not affect your PSA levels. Therefore, small cell cancer is not normally found in the early stages when it can be cured.
As such, the five year survival rate for men with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. However, the five year survival rate for small cell cancer of the prostate is 20 percent when the cancer has not spread beyond the prostate gland. But, the survival rate is less than 5 percent after the cancer has spread. Find out more here about the how to win benefits under the compassionate allowances rules.
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Getting Social Security Disability Benefits After A Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer is the third most common reason adults are awarded disability benefits. The Social Security Administration reports 11.8% of all Social Security disability insurance applications approved in 2018 were related to a cancer diagnosis such as leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, or prostate cancer.
SSDI benefits provide a financial lifeline for cancer patients who are unable to work due to their illness. However, a cancer diagnosis wont automatically qualify you for benefits. To increase your chances of being successfully approved, youll want to work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.
Can I Get Disability Benefits For Prostate Cancer
Can I get disability benefits for prostate cancer? Prostate Cancer is cancer that only effects man as it occurs in a mans prostate a small walnut-shaped gland that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. It is one of the most common types of cancer in men-only skin cancer is more common with men. One out of every three diagnoses of cancer in men each year is prostate cancer.
This form of cancer usually grows slowly and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. Unfortunately, the disease is relatively symptom free during the early stages and problems may not arise until the cancer has progressed. With more advanced stages of the disease, symptoms include: trouble urinating, decrease force in the urine flow, blood in the urine and seamen, swelling in the legs, pelvic discomfort and bone pain.
The Code of Federal Regulations lists several conditions and the required symptomology that must be present in order for someone to meet disability standards. The medical requirements for prostate cancer is found at Listing 13.24. If you do not meet or equal this listing, you may still be entitled to disability benefits if your condition, in conjunction with any other physical or mental impairment, prevents you from returning to work you have done in the past and other substantial work you might be qualified to perform given your age, education and acquired work skills.
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Consult With A Social Security Attorney
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a daunting task. Between the application itself and providing all of the required medical documentation, there is a lot that needs to be done and it can be quite overwhelming.
The SSA has a toll free number for any questions you might have, but they wont walk you through the application if you are in need of additional help. You can certainly work with family and friends to complete the application, and it helps when you have a trusted friend or relative act as an advocate on your behalf when you need additional help.
Sometimes, though, you might not have anyone who can help with the application, or your case has a lot of documentation required and you want to make sure everything is done properly. In that event, you might consider retaining a Social Security disability attorney.
Hiring a Social Security attorney does not guarantee that you will win your case, but it can certainly increase your chances for approval because a lawyer who deals in these claims all of the time knows exactly what must be included, what to emphasize, and what additional information you should include to increase the chances of being approved.
Some Social Security attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you only pay if you win your case. Others work on an hourly or flat rate basis, so make sure that you understand the fee structure before retaining your attorney.
Making A Disability Insurance Claim With Cancer
If you have received a cancer diagnosis and need to learn about disability insurance options, the first step is to survey what coverage you may already have. There are three primary types of disability coverage:
Social Security disability insurance, provided as a benefit through the federal government.
Talk to your HR department about what coverage you have through work. If you have a private disability insurance policy that youÃ¢ve purchased on your own outside of work, look into claim requirements.
A cancer diagnosis doesnÃ¢t guarantee that you can receive disability benefits. To make a successful disability claim and claim benefits, a diagnosis has to lead to a disability that keeps you from working.
To make a claim, youÃ¢ll have to get a statement from your doctor that explains your health status and that youÃ¢re disabled and unable to work. That information has to meet your policyÃ¢s definition of disability. Some insurers may also require a statement from your employer.
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Social Security Disability Benefits For Male Cancers
Some types of cancer are exclusive to men, including testicular cancer. The treatments for these diseases often place patients out of work for extended periods of time, meaning many men lose their primary source of income, at least temporarily.
If your cancer is expected to keep you out of work for at least 12 months, the Social Security Administration may be able to help compensate your income through monthly benefits, and the criteria can be simple. However, the process is often long, lasting months or even years, so to keep your application on track, it may help to work with a Social Security disability attorney.