Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program that provides people with a work history that includes payments for Social Security taxes. Disabilities that qualify can take many forms. While a presumption exists that those suffering debilitating physical injuries are the only applications accepted, other serious and disabling conditions can result in approval.
Lung cancer is a disease that can be as disabling as any other affliction qualifying for SSDI benefits. In addition to the physical pain, diagnoses can be emotionally charged as well. Victims face an uncertain future, both health-wise and financially. Depending on the specific type of cancer and the severity, the ability to work a full-time job can quickly become impossible.
Are you eligible?
As with any injury or disease, strict eligibility rules are in place. Having lung cancer is not an automatic path to approval. Technically, small-cell lung cancer is the only form of the disease that qualifies.
Other forms of the disease must meet the strict definition of disability under the Social Security Act with qualifications that include working at a job with Social Security coverage and a medical condition that qualifies. Simply put, an applicant was limited in their ability to work for 12 consecutive months or longer.
Work credits are also a factor in determining if you were employed long enough to qualify. The amount of credits needed depends on the applicant’s age when they received their diagnosis. Forty work credits are necessary for most applicants, with half earned in the previous ten years. Younger workers can also qualify with fewer credits.
Benefits continue until the applicant can resume working regularly. Incentives are in place to ensure ongoing healthcare coverage and compensations during the transition.
Applicants dealing with severe cases of lung cancer can also qualify for the Compassionate Allowance Program. Even after treatment, the cancer must have spread, be considered inoperable, or returned. Applications are fast-tracked to decrease wait times and distribute benefits sooner rather than later.