Lack Of Supportive Or Objective Medical Evidence
Your oncologist may find your cancer to be in remission or find no evidence of metastasis on imaging/testing. Your insurance company can take this as a signal that your condition has stabilized and you should be able to return to work.
Still, many treatments cause long-term side effects and cancer patients might experience difficulties working in their occupation or in any occupation. For example, you may be required to be on hormone replacement therapy that has severe side effects. Or maybe you have developed cognitive difficulties and would therefore find it difficult to work in an office setting. It may also be unsafe to work with machinery/in a safety sensitive job. Also, fatigue may make it difficult to get through many of your essential duties.
Prostate Cancer: Survival And Beyond Navigating Short Term And Long Term Disability
A prostate cancer diagnosis is a devastating moment that 1 in 8* men will experience in their lifetime. But its the many moments after the initial shock when the disease can truly takes its physical, mental and emotional toll.
Battling prostate cancer and coping with the residual effects of treatment can be very taxing. During and after treatment many men of working age who want to return to work encounter a variety of challenges.
Sometimes a survivor may not able to return to his previous job or take on any form of employment as physical, cognitive or psychological limitations might make certain tasks difficult or impossible to complete. If the work is labour intensive, requires heavy lifting or is otherwise physically demanding, some survivors may no longer be able to perform their previous tasks as effortlessly as they used to.
Many survivors also struggle with cognitive or psychological issues. They might have difficulty keeping pace with their colleagues, concentrating, processing data and/or providing analysis and they may struggle when faced with learning new tasks.
If it is determined that return to work is not possible, either in the short-term or the long-term, a survivor may be entitled to receive disability benefits available to them through their employer or private health benefits they have purchased on their own.
Medically Qualifying With the Blue Book
Starting Your Disability Application
Disabling Symptoms Of Cancer
Each type of cancer has its own symptoms. For example, someone suffering from leukemia will have different complications compared to someone with a melanoma . That said, there are a number of underlying symptoms commonly arising in many cancers.
Symptoms that occur in many types of cancer include:
- Cough or hoarseness
- Bowel movement changes
Your symptoms will also vary depending on the stage of your cancer. Cancer is categorized by four stages, with Stage 0 on the low threat level end – indicating a non-invasive, early form of non-threatening cancer – and Stage 4 indicating an advanced, very likely terminal cancer.
Early stage cancers are more difficult to get approved for long term disability insurance benefits. Regardless of your cancer stage, your insurance company will require an explanation of all of your symptoms.
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When Side Effects Of Treatment Keep You From Working
While many cancer patients are able to undergo chemo or radiation and continue to work, for others, it is this cancer treatment, not the symptoms, that makes it difficult or impossible to work. Chemotherapy and radiation can have a significant impact on your ability to function normally. The treatments often cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, skin, and mental ailments. However, it’s difficult to get disability solely because of chemo or radiation treatments because of the SSA’s time requirement. The SSA requires that you are unable to work for at least one year. Often, the negative side effects of chemo or radiation are temporary and fluctuate over the course of treatment. Because side effects fluctuate, the SSA will require a sufficient passage of time from the start of chemo or radiation treatment to determine the ultimate effects of the treatment on the patient, both to see if the treatment was successful and to see if you were unable to work for one year.
It is important that you document your side effects both in a personal journal and with your physician. It may also be helpful to provide a statement by another person who has witnessed how the treatments have affected you.
Applying For Disability Insurance After Cancer
Once you are in remission, have had your cancer removed or treated, and a doctor has given you the all-clear after a follow-up appointment, you can apply for a disability insurance policy to ensure that your income is protected from other health issues in the future.
You can still get affordable coverage, but applying for disability insurance with a pre-existing condition can mean that youll have higher premiums than someone who doesn’t have a pre-existing condition.
There are several ways to lower your premium if you have a history of cancer:
Exclusions: If you have a history of cancer, its very likely that cancer will be listed as an exclusion and wont be covered by your policy. How specific the exclusion is depends on your history, including what type and stage of cancer you had.
Shorter benefit period: Depending on your health history, an insurance agent may suggest that you purchase a policy that only provides benefits for three to five years, instead of until retirement. Once you have several years without claims, you can reapply for a more robust policy.
Step-graded coverage for illnesses: Step-graded coverage means that when you first buy the policy, you’ll have lower coverage for illnesses but full coverage for accidents. Then, each progressive year without a claim means you get more of the full coverage amount if you become disabled from an illness.
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How To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits With Cancer
More than a million people receive a cancer diagnosis each year, and there are more than 200 different types of cancer with varying degrees of seriousness. At Palo Verde Cancer Specialists, we know that fighting cancer is all-encompassing and that it is likely that you wont be able to work while going through treatment at our oncology center.
Our cancer center has put together this information on how to qualify for Social Security disability benefits for your convenience. Social Security benefits are available to help people who cant work for at least a year due to an illness like cancer. It will help pay for basic living expenses like utilities, housing, and food. That gives people who are sick a little financial breathing room to concentrate on dealing with their health. But some requirements must be met to be eligible for disability benefits.
Leave As A Reasonable Accommodation Under The Americans With Disabilities Act
What You Should Know
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency responsible for administering the Americans with Disabilities Act employment provisions.
- The ADA requires employers to provide adjustments or modificationscalled reasonable accommodationsto enable job applicants and employees with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities unless doing so would be an undue hardship . Under the ADA, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation that is needed because of the limitations caused by the cancer itself, the side effects of the treatment, or both, barring undue hardship.
- Some employees with cancer may need leave as an accommodation for doctors’ appointments and/or to seek or to recuperate from treatment. An employer must consider an employee with cancers request to provide access to leave policies on equal terms as other similarly situated employees.
- Also, under the ADA, an employer must consider providing unpaid leave to an employee with a disability as a reasonable accommodation if the employee requires it, and so long as it does not create an undue hardship for the employer. This is the case even when:
- the employer does not offer leave as an employee benefit
- the employee is not eligible for leave under the employer’s policy or
- the employee has exhausted the leave the employer provides as a benefit .
What You Can Do
Contact the EEOC if you have any questions.
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Am I Eligible For Disability Insurance Benefits
Disability Insurance provides short-term wage replacement benefits to eligible California workers.
You may be eligible for DI if you are unable to work and are losing wages because of your own non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.
In order to be eligible for DI benefits, you must:
- Be unable to do your regular or customary work for at least eight days.
- Have lost wages because of your disability.
- Be employed or actively looking for work at the time your disability begins.
- Have earned at least $300 from which State Disability Insurance deductions were withheld during your base period. Learn more with Calculating Benefit Payment Amounts.
- Be under the care and treatment of a licensed physician/practitioner or accredited religious practitioner within the first eight days of your disability. The date your claim begins can be adjusted if it does not meet this requirement. You must remain under care and treatment to continue receiving benefits.
- Complete and submit your Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits no earlier than nine days after your first day of disability begins but no later than 49 days, or you may lose benefits.
- Have your physician/practitioner complete the medical certification portion of your disability claim.
- A nurse practitioner may certify to a disability within their scope of practice.
- A licensed midwife, nurse-midwife, or nurse practitioner may complete the medical certification for disabilities related to normal pregnancy or childbirth.
Can I Apply For Temporary Social Security Benefits
Disability benefits through the Social Security Administration are only available to people who are disabled for 12 months or longer and who have an impairment that meets severity level requirements.
Your temporary disability may last a year or may be shorter in duration. The type of disability benefits for which you should apply depends on how long your medical condition is expected to be out of work.
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Vietnam Veterans & Prostate Cancer
Veterans who served in Vietnam are now reaching their mid-60s, which is the age at which prostate cancer is usually diagnosed. This means that we are seeing an influx of prostate cancer cases.
Roughly eight nine million men in the US served during the Vietnam War with approximately 2.7 million Americans serving in Vietnam. And according to recent studies, almost 1.4 million men are predicted to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime. A 2013 study conducted at the Portland VA Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University found that Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are not only at higher risk for prostate cancer, but they also have an increased risk for more aggressive forms of the disease.
Agent Orange, as we have discussed in previous Agent Orangeblog posts, has been found to cause many serious health problems. The VA has found sufficient evidence of an association with certain conditions so they have recognized fourteen different diseases and type of cancer as being related to Agent Orange exposure. These conditions are considered presumptive diseases, meaning that the VA will grant service-connection for these conditions as long as the veteran was in Vietnam. Some other diseases on this list include non-Hodgkins lymphoma , soft tissue sarcoma, porphyria cutanea tarda, multiple myeloma, and ischemic heart disease.
Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Cancer
Cancer is one of the leading causes of disability, but disability insurance companies dont always make it easy for policyholders who are in remission, have had a recurrence or have lasting side effects from cancer treatment to get the disability benefits they deserve.
The Common Reasons Disability Carriers Deny Cancer Disability Claims
Many claims are denied because the disability insurance company says:
You are in remission,
There is no objective basis of the side effects of treatments,
There is no objective basis for the restrictions and limitations assigned by your physician, or
There is no causal relationship between your cancer diagnosis and/or your restrictions and limitations, and your inability to do your own or any occupation.
Nancy Cavey, who has 35 years experience handling disability cases, has successfully represented many policyholders with cancer. She overcomes a claims denial by working closely with you and your physician.
Nancy Cavey offers a free initial consultation and welcomes the opportunity to speak with you about your disability claim.
An Overview of Cancer and The Symptoms of Cancer
Cancer is an uncontrolled abnormal cell growth that damages a cells genetic material. Each of the more than 100 types of cancer has its own symptoms, stages and treatment options.
The six major types of cancer are:
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Disability Insurance For Cancer Survivors
Once youâre in remission or have had your cancer removed, you should be able to obtain an individual disability insurance policy.
However, itâs unlikely that an insurance company will cover any future relapses. If youâve had cancer before you apply, your policy will likely have an exclusion attached to it. An exclusion restricts coverage for claims resulting from or related to a preexisting medical condition.
Depending on the type of cancer you had, this exclusion may limit you from filing claims for any type of cancer. On the other hand, if you suffered a more localized type of cancer, such as thyroid cancer, then a future policy may only exclude that type of cancer from coverage but include other types.
Even with exclusions, your previous history of cancer will lead to higher premiums because it may lead to separate health and disability issues in the future.
Because of how common cancer is, itâs in your best interest to consider disability insurance before you have a potential diagnosis. This is especially true if you have any risk factors that make a diagnosis more likely for you than for the general population.
Getting Social Security Disability Benefits After A Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer is the third most common reason adults are awarded disability benefits. The Social Security Administration reports 11.8% of all Social Security disability insurance applications approved in 2018 were related to a cancer diagnosis such as leukemia, lymphoma, lung cancer, breast cancer, or prostate cancer.
SSDI benefits provide a financial lifeline for cancer patients who are unable to work due to their illness. However, a cancer diagnosis wont automatically qualify you for benefits. To increase your chances of being successfully approved, youll want to work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.
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When Can You Get Disability If You Have Cancer
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, then you may be able to apply for disability immediately if you are expected to be unable to work for at least 12 months or if the cancer is terminal. You do not have to wait until you are unable to work to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance.
If your cancer is so severe that it obviously meets the SSAs cancer listings, then you may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance. You dont need to fill out a special application to get a compassionate allowance. Once your regular application is filed, the SSA will expedite it when they identify that you have a compassionate allowance condition.
When it comes to filing for disability, it can be difficult to determine when exactly a person got cancer. Unfortunately, cancer is often able to grow and spread undetected, or with few symptoms. Typically, the SSA will set the date of disability as the day that you received your cancer diagnosis.
However, you may be able to prove that you became disabled before being officially diagnosed. To make a determination, the SSA will look at:
- When you first reported symptoms to your doctor
- The type of cancer
- Where the cancer is located and
- What stage the cancer was at when it was diagnosed.
Public & Private Disability Insurance Options
If you are undergoing cancer treatment or have complications from surgery, you may find that you are no longer able to work and earn a living as you did previously. Disability insurance may provide you with some income if you are unable to work due to a medical condition. Disability insurance benefits are offered by the federal government, some state governments or through a private insurance company.
In this section we cover:
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Medical Evidence Of Your Cancer Disability
Your insurance company will give the most weight to medical evidence when deciding your disability claim. Examples of medical evidence include:
- Diagnostic testing
- Medication lists with their known side effects
- Any objective testing results
- Reports from your doctor
Your medical records should document your diagnosis, your physical and cognitive symptoms, the location and stage of your cancer, and your prognosis.
A supportive doctor can make all the difference with your disability claim. Request from your doctor a narrative letter. This report should outline your condition and its affect on your ability to work, including your symptoms, restrictions and limitations.
Disabilities Related To Cancer Treatment
Even if a patients cancer treatment is successful, they can be left with serious impairments. For example, heart, lung, liver, and bone problems have been linked to chemotherapy, while cognitive dysfunction and bone weakness can be long-term effects of radiation.
If you develop a disabling condition as the result of successful cancer treatment, your disability will be evaluated without considering the cancer diagnosis. The Blue Book criteria for your specific condition can offer insight as to whether your long-term side effects of cancer treatment are severe enough to qualify for SSDI benefits.
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