Prostate Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits

Prostate Cancer and Social Security Disability Benefits

Prostate cancer often starts out slowly and, at first, stays confined to the gland, where it may not do serious harm. Some types of this disease will progress slowly but others can be very aggressive and spread quickly to other areas in the body. Luckily, if prostate cancer is found early while it’s still confined to the gland, there’s a better chance of successful treatment and remission. Initially, prostate cancer may not cause any signs, but a man should see a doctor if he experiences symptoms such as:

  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Problems urinating
  • Less force in urine stream
  • Pelvic area discomfort
  • Pain in the low back, hips, thighs
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Bone pain

According to the Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center, one out of every six men will develop prostate cancer during their lifetime.

Can Men With Prostate Cancer Be Eligible for Social Security Disability?

As of 2014, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has added prostate cancer to the list of conditions that are considered a compassionate allowance, and therefore, men with this disease are eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. What’s more, they can also receive expedited attention for their disability decision.

According to the SSA, a compassionate allowance is a way to quickly and easily identify conditions that constantly qualify as disabled under the listing of impairments based on minimal information. These allowances allow the SSA to target the most obvious disabilities based on objective medical evidence that’s easily obtainable. In addition to prostate cancer there are several qualifying conditions for Social Security disability on this list.

In order to automatically qualify for SSD benefits for prostate cancer, a man must experience:

  • Cancer that progresses or comes back despite hormonal treatment options
  • Cancer that has metastasized to other internal organs

To qualify with metastasized prostate cancer, a CT scan, MRI or biopsy must provide evidence of metastatic tumors elsewhere in the body.

If you’re suffering from prostate cancer that does not meet the above requirements for automatic benefits but your disease considerably limits your ability to work and maintain a full-time job, you may still be eligible. The SSA will give you a residual functional capacity (RFC) test to find out what you’re capable of still doing despite your illness. The RFC will include limits on how long you can stand, sit and walk, how much weight can be lifted and if any accommodations need to be made, such as frequent bathroom breaks or rests. If the SSA determines that based on the RFC limitations, education level, job skills and age there are no jobs you can do, you will be given approval for SSD benefits on a medical-vocational allowance.

Hiring a Lawyer Can Help You Get Approved for SSD

Applying for SSD benefits can be a tricky process, so it’s best to hire a lawyer who specializes in these cases to assist you. An advocate understands what is needed by the SSA in order to make a decision and will know what evidence should be provided and how you should explain your disability.

According to the Social Security disability and SSI Resource Center, it’s estimated that about 30 percent of claims are granted at the initial level and 15 percent are given approval at reconsideration, but hiring a lawyer can raise the percentage for you. Additionally, of the claims received by an administrative law judge, 60 percent with representation are approved.

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