Esophageal cancer is relatively rare, but it is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths, according to the Mayo Clinic. Many people have no signs or symptoms of cancer when their disease is in the early stages. However, by the time their disease progresses, the symptoms of esophageal cancer can be significant and prevent people from working. Symptoms may include choking while eating, chest pain, fatigue, indigestion, and other complications.
If You Can’t Work, Social Security Disability May Be an Option
As you deal with the pain of your condition and you comply with your doctor’s treatment plan, you may be unable to do any meaningful work. You may, however, qualify for Social Security disability if you meet the requirements in the Blue Book Listing of Impairments.
The Listing of Impairments is concise and clear when it comes to esophageal cancer. According to Listing 13.16, you are eligible for benefits if you have been diagnosed with carcinoma or sarcoma of the esophagus. The Social Security Administration will expect documentation of your diagnosis and your treatment. Specifically, the agency will want to see:
- The results of biopsies, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests
- Pathology reports
- Any evidence of the cancer spreading beyond the esophagus, as evidenced by a CT scan or PET scan.
- What treatment you’ve had—this will include the type of treatment, the length of treatment, the effect of the treatment, and any side effects of the treatment.
All of this information will be useful in proving that you suffer from a carcinoma or sarcoma of the esophagus.
Your Condition May Be Fast Tracked
Since 2008, the Social Security Administration has had a policy of expediting disability reviews for applicants who have conditions included on the agency’s Compassionate Allowance list. Esophageal cancer is included on that list and that should mean that your application will be considered more quickly. The eligibility criteria for Social Security disability, however, will remain unchanged.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, it is important to get the benefits you have earned. We encourage you to learn more about your rights by reading our FREE book, Social Security Disability: What You Need to Know, and by calling our experienced lawyers directly to set up an initial meeting.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.