According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 79,000 people in the United States develop bladder cancer each year. Some of these people may be eligible for Social Security disability. Eligibility depends on the stage of your bladder cancer and how the illness impacts your life. If you suffer from bladder cancer, it is important to know if you could be eligible and how to get the benefits you deserve.
The Listing of Impairments
The Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments (Blue Book) includes carcinoma of the urinary bladder, or bladder cancer, as a listing in Section 13.22. Pursuant to this listing, you may qualify for Social Security disability if you have bladder cancer and you meet one of the following five criteria:
- The cancer has spread beyond the bladder wall.
- The cancer is recurrent after a total cystectomy.
- The cancer is inoperable—it cannot be removed with surgery.
- The cancer has metastasized to or beyond the regional lymph nodes.
- You have small cell (also known as oat cell) carcinoma. This type of cancer is particularly dangerous and aggressive.
Your application may be fast tracked through the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances Program if you can prove that if you have bladder cancer with distant metastases or bladder cancer that is inoperable or unresectable.
Can You Work?
If you have bladder cancer and you cannot meet the requirements of Section 13.22 in the Listing of Impairments, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability if you can prove either that:
- Your condition is equal in severity to another condition in the Listing of Impairments.
- Your condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death and given your health, your education, and your work experience you are unable to work. In this case your residual functional capacity will be considered before a determination is made.
You have a serious medical condition that has required you to make difficult medical decisions. Your medical condition may have also resulted in difficult financial decisions—particularly if you are unable to work. If this has happened to you, we encourage you to learn more about your rights and to contact an experienced, board-certified Social Security disability lawyer to discuss whether you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.