Many cases of skin cancer are—thankfully—not disabling. Basal cell carcinoma, for example, is typically contained to the specific part of the skin where the cancer forms and it does not spread to other parts of the body. Treatment for this type of skin cancer may include surgery to remove the cancer, but it usually does not result in a permanent disability or inability to work.
However, the Same Is Not True for All Types of Skin Cancers
Some types of skin cancers, such as melanoma, can spread throughout the body. When this type of cancer spreads beyond the lymph nodes closest to the spot of origin, it can be very difficult to treat. It can be disabling and it can be deadly.
Accordingly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has found that some patients with skin cancer are eligible for Social Security disability. Specifically, you may be eligible for social Security disability if:
- You meet the requirements in Section 13.03 of the Listing of Impairments. The SSA has recognized that some types of skin cancer can be disabling and has set out specific criteria for evaluating skin cancer. Generally, if the skin cancer has spread beyond the regional lymph nodes, you might want to consider whether you qualify pursuant to this criterion.
- Your condition is equal in severity to another listing in the listing of impairments. If you can prove that the effect of your skin cancer on your ability to work is equal to that of another specific listing in the listing of impairments, you may qualify for Social Security disability.
- You are unable to work at any job. If your cancer keeps you from doing any kind of work, that could qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.
Since Social Security disability is not an option for all skin cancer patients, it is important that your application be complete, accurate, and persuasive so that the SSA has reason to approve your application and so that you can get the benefits you deserve.
How Long Can You Recover Benefits If You Qualify for Social Security Disability?
You may be eligible for Social Security disability if your skin cancer meets the requirements described above or prevents you from working. However, at some point you may no longer be eligible for Social Security disability if your skin cancer is in remission. Specifically, you may no longer be eligible for benefits if you are in complete remission for three years and you qualified pursuant to Section 13.00 of the Social Security Listing of Impairments. If, however, your skin cancer comes back, you may be eligible for Social Security disability again.
Stand Up For Your Rights
Whether you are filing for Social Security disability benefits or you are fighting to keep benefits that you believe you are qualify for, we encourage you to advocate for your rights and to show the Social Security Administration why you should continue getting benefits. Don’t try to go it alone. Contact our office for advice and support today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.