Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers, and one of the deadliest. Every year, there are more than 200,000 cases of breast cancer diagnosed. Women have a one in six chance of developing breast cancer with breast cancer being the second leading cause of death in women. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer and can’t work because of the cancer or because of the treatment that you are going through, you could be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits can pay for things like housing and food so that you can concentrate on your health.

Social Security Disability Benefits For Breast Cancer

The requirements that must be met in order to qualify for disability benefits because of breast cancer are very specific. There is a listing for breast cancer in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book that lists the criteria that a woman must meet in order to be eligible for benefits because of breast cancer. The Blue Book listing states that a woman’s cancer must meet one of these requirements:

  • inflammatory carcinoma
  • tumor with direct extension to the chest wall or skin
  • distant metastases
  • metastasized to the supraclavicular or infraclavicular nodes
  • metastasized to ten or more axillary nodes
  • metastasized to the ipsilateral internal mammary nodes
  • recurrent carcinoma
  • late-stage or terminal

If a woman’s cancer is diagnosed as late-stage or terminal, she will automatically qualify for Compassionate Allowance, which is a program designed to speed up the process of getting benefits. Anyone that is terminally or gravely ill will automatically qualify for Compassionate Allowance with minimal documentation. In addition to submitting a claim for benefits, the woman will need to submit medical paperwork showing her health and prognosis such as an oncology report, MRIs, mammogram results, treatment plans, and hospital bills. Women who have early-stage cancer that may respond to treatment but who can’t work during treatment because of the side effects of chemo and other treatments can ask to be approved for benefits through the Medical-Vocational Allowance.

Medical-Vocational Allowance For Breast Cancer

Medical-Vocational Allowance is a way that people who are too sick to work but can’t meet the Blue Book requirements for their illness can qualify for benefits. To get it, you will need to submit a claim for disability benefits and ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. The RFC exam is done by the Social Security Administration. They will look at the skill set you have and how your illness impacts your life. If they find that there isn’t possible work because of your illness or the side effects of treating that illness, then you can receive disability benefits.

Starting a Claim

Don’t wait to start your claim for disability benefits if you have breast cancer. Make an appointment at your local SSA office. Bring all of your medical records and treatment history to the appointment and a staff member at the SSA will help you file a claim and ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation if you need one.

Additional Resources:

This article was provided by Mark Steele and, an independent website that helps people of all ages through the Social Security process. Feel free to reach out to Mark () with any questions or comments.

The views, opinions, and positions expressed within guest posts are those of the author or agency alone and do not represent those of Dr. Susan Love Foundation or its staff or affiliates. To inquire about a guest blog post email .


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