Does a Neoplastic Cancer Qualify You for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits?
The Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments addresses cancer, also known as malignant neoplastic diseases. Social Security uses these listings to evaluate all malignant neoplasms except certain neoplasms associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Social Security uses the criteria in Listing 14.08E to evaluate carcinoma of the cervix, Kaposi’s sarcoma, lymphoma, and squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal and anal margin if you also have HIV infection.
Having your illness in the Social Security impairment lists does not guarantee that you will get SSDI benefits, but such a listing will help your Social Security attorney assemble the right evidence to demonstrate your disability. Contact attorney Nick Ortiz for a free evaluation of your case.
As with any condition, just being diagnosed with cancer does not automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability. In fact, disability determination representatives often deny cancer claims based on the “one year rule”, stating that the condition is not expected to remain severe for at least 12 months and that the condition is expected to improve enough for the claimant to return to work.
However, as with any disabling condition, if you can prove that your condition precludes you from engaging in full-time employment, and such condition has lasted 12 months or is expected to last at least one year, then you are eligible for disability.
Social Security evaluates bilateral primary breast cancer (synchronous or metachronous) under Listing of Impairment 13.10A, which covers local primary disease, and not as a primary disease that has metastasized:
“13.10 Breast (except sarcoma—13.04) (See 13.00K4.)
A. Locally advanced carcinoma (inflammatory carcinoma, tumor of any size with direct extension to the chest wall or skin, tumor of any size with metastases to the ipsilateral internal mammary nodes.
B. Carcinoma with metastases to the supraclavicular or infraclavicular nodes, to 10 or more axillary nodes, or with distant metastases.
C. Recurrent carcinoma, except local recurrence that remits with antineoplastic therapy.”
Lymphatic obstruction occurs when the lymph vessels that drain fluid from tissues throughout the body and allow immune cells to travel where they are needed are blocked. Such obstruction may cause lymphedema, which is swelling due to a blockage of the lymph passages.
The most common cause of lymphatic obstruction is the removal or enlargement of the lymph nodes.
Other causes of lymphatic obstruction include:
- Infections with parasites such as filariasis;
- Radiation therapy;
- Skin infections such as cellulitis (more common in obese patients);
- Surgery; and
Here in the United States, one of the most common causes of lymphedema is the removal of the breast (mastectomy) and underarm lymph tissue for breast cancer. This causes lymphedema of the arm in 10 – 15% of patients, because the lymphatic drainage of the arm passes through the armpit (axilla).