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Social Security Administration's 5-Step process to determine if a cancer patient qualifies for SSDI.
The following 5-part process is an overview of the steps that the SSA uses to determine whether a cancer patient meets the SSA definition of "disabled" and will qualify for benefits. We hope this information provides you with a general idea how the process works, and the methodology of the SSA. Each claim is unique, however, and will be judged on its individual merits. Simply because your case may not match one of these criteria, does not mean that it will be approved or denied. There is no substitute for the advice of a Social Security Disability Insurance advocate or attorney. For a FREE, no obligation evaluation of your case Click here now
Are you working while suffering from cancer?
The SSA's first step to determine whether your cancer is considered a disability is to evaluate if you are working. Generally, if you currently working and earning more than $980 a month, they won't consider you disabled.
If you're not working, or are earning below $980 a month during the time that you have cancer, the SSA will then continue to Step 2.
Is your cancer condition severe?
The SSA then evaluates if your cancer condition is severe enough that it will interfere with your basic work-related activities, such as the ability to follow simple instructions, respond appropriately to supervision, walk, stand, carry, see, hear or speak.
Only if the SSA judges that the cancer disability interferes with your ability to perform work will they continue on to Step 3. If they feel your cancer condition is not severe enough to limit you from working, then you will not be found disabled.
Is your cancer found in the list of disabling conditions?
The SSA has an established list of severe medical conditions that automatically qualify for disability insurance. Cancer is listed under neoplastic diseases - malignant. However, to qualify as disabled, the SSA must still evaluate the type, site and metastases of the cancer.
If the SSA decides that your condition is not equally severe to those medical conditions on the list, then they will go to Step 4 to make the determination.
Can you do the work that you did before you had cancer?
If your cancer condition is not as severe as the medical conditions on the SSA list, then the SSA will decide if your cancer condition stops you from doing the same work done in the past. If you can still work as before, than your claim will be denied.
To make this determination, the SSA will look at the demands of your recent past work compared with your remaining ability to do basic work activities.
The SSA will look at the following:
- Work that was done in the most recent 15 years, and
- Work that involved significant mental and physical activity and was intended for pay, and
- Work that you did long enough to become competent.
After this review, the following will occur:
- If you can still do the work that you performed in your past job, the SSA will find that you are not disabled.
- If you can do your past work as it is generally done in the national economy (even if you can't perform it exactly as you had in your previous job), the SSA will find that you are not disabled.
- If you can't do the physical or mental tasks of your past work (regardless of how you performed it, or how it is generally done nationally), then the SSA will go on to Step 5.
Does your cancer prevent you from doing any other work?
If the SSA finds that you can't do the same work that you did previously, they will see if you can adjust to other types of work. They will consider your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience and general job skills.
If you can adjust to other types of work, your claim will be denied. If you're unable to adjust to other forms of work, than you will be considered disabled and will receive benefits.
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5-Steps the SSA uses to determine SSDI eligibility.
This flow chart shows the general steps and guidelines the SSA follows to determine if a cancer patient qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. However, each case is unique and will be determined by the facts and circumstances associated with the individual case.