Cancer, Social Security Disability and the Compassionate Allowances Initiative
Cancer patients often qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if they have a strong work history prior to the illness. However, they must still meet Social Security’s definition of disability. Some cancer patients may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances Initiative which can help expedite the application process. The Compassionate Allowances initiative provides a way to expedite the processing of SSDI and SSI disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions frequently or always meet Social Security’s definition of disability. Starting the application process is the same as any other Social Security application procedure. Many, but not all, cancers are on the compassionate allowance conditions list. These include small cell lung cancer, thyroid cancer, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, esophageal cancer, adrenal cancer, leukemia, and Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.
In addition, numerous other cancer types are included on the list for expedited eligibility determinations in the event that the tumors are inoperable or where there are distant metastases. Some examples of these types are bone cancer, breast cancer, head and neck cancers, bladder cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and stomach cancer. This list is meant to provide examples, only, and is not a complete list, as conditions are added to the list from time to time. If you have questions about whether your cancer diagnosis falls within the Compassionate Allowances Initiative, you should contact an experienced Social Security attorney to discuss your options.