Colon Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits

Colon Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits


Colon Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits

According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States— and while it is fairly common, colon cancer can affect people to varying degrees. This means that in some cases, early stage colon cancer may be easily removed. In other, more advanced cases, an individual with colon cancer may need several surgeries and vigorous rounds of chemotherapy.

Individuals with late stage colon cancer may find that symptoms, surgeries, and other treatments make it impossible for them to continue working. Lack of income and discontinued health insurance can pose a significant financial burden. If you or a loved one finds yourself in this position, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. 



Social Security Disability Benefit Programs and Technical Eligibility

Social Security Disability benefits are governed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA offers disability benefits through two separate programs. It is important to understand these two programs prior to submitting your application so that you can be certain that you meet the technical eligibility requirements.

SSDI:The first program—Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)—is funded by FICA taxesthat are paid into the system by workers all over the country. Therefore, eligibility for the program is dependent on an applicant’s work history and the amount of taxes that he or she has paid throughout their career.

To make this simpler to understand, the SSA assigns “work credits” to each quarter that a person earns wages and pays taxes. To qualify technically for SSDI, an individual must have earned a specific amount of work credits. Learn more about work credits and qualifying for SSDI, here:

Once an individual qualifies for SSDI he or she will become eligible for Medicare after two years.

SSI: SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, provides financial assistance to elderly or disabled individuals who have very little income and financial resources. SSI is a needs-based program meaning that eligibility and the amount of assistance an applicant receives is based on their financial standing. SSI is often a good option for young people or other individuals who may not have the work credits to qualify for SSDI. Learn more about SSI, here:

Once an individual qualifies for SSI he or she will automatically be approved for Medicaid.

It is important to note that in some circumstances, an applicant may qualify for both SSDI and SSI benefits.

            By Clicking Here you can see a guide designed to inform people on best practices when navigating through the SSD             process.


Blue Book Listing and Medical Eligibility

In addition to meeting the technical requirements listed above, applicants for disability benefits must meet certain medical criteria as well.  The SSA requires that all applicants meet their definition of disability. This means that your health condition keeps you from working any type of job and is expected to last a year or longer.

Additionally, the SSA consults an official guide of disabling conditions—known as the blue book—to determine the severity of an applicant’s illness or disability. 

In the blue book, colon cancer most closely aligns with the listing provided for intestinal cancer. This listing states that you will qualify for disability benefits if your colon cancer:

  • Returned after being in remission
  • Cannot be completely removed or treated using surgery
  • Has returned after surgery
  • Has spread to other areas of the body

It is important to understand that even if your colon cancer does not meet these specific criteria, you may still be eligible for disability benefits if you can prove that colon cancer symptoms or treatments prevent you from doing workplace tasks, such as standing, sitting, carrying items, and following directions.


Social Security Disability Application Process

Prior to beginning the application process, it is important that you are thoroughly prepared. In addition to the application paperwork, you will be required to submit thorough documentation of your employment history, medical history, and financial history. Having this information available when you submit your application will prevent any delays and will increase your chances of approval.

Once you are ready to begin the application procedures, you can visit the SSA’s website or you can make an appointment at your local Social Security office to apply in person.  It is important to note that the application process can be complicated and overwhelming. In fact, many initial applications are denied. If you are feeling uncomfortable or unprepared in any way, it may be in your best interest to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney or advocate.  A legal professional can guide you through the process and ensure that your application is complete and free of any mistakes.

Keep in mind, that while it may seem difficult to be approved for disability benefits, this system was put in place to help you. If your initial application is denied, do not give up. You are allowed to appeal this decision. Once you are approved for disability benefits you will be able to focus on your health rather than your finances.


To learn more about Social Security Disability benefits visit Social Security Disability Help or contact Molly Clarke at

Are you at Risk For Colorectal Cancer?

  • 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths for men and women combined
  • Colonoscopies not only discover cancer, but can also stop cancer
  • 50% of Americans still do not get colonoscopy reimbursement
  • Colon cancer research is still vastly under-funded

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