How to Qualify for Social Security Benefits When You Have Breast Cancer

Are you or a loved one battling breast cancer? You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, which are offered to men and women in need who are unable to work.

According to the Social Security medical guide known as the Blue Book, there are five ways to qualify for Social Security if you have breast cancer.

  • If your cancer is locally advanced, which means that it’s spread to your chest or collarbone. This includes metastatic breast cancer.
  • If your cancer has spread to ten or more axillary nodes.
  • If your cancer has returned despite anticancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Three months of treatment typically qualifies.
  • If you have small-cell/oat-cell breast cancer.
  • If your breast cancer had secondary lymphedema that required surgery to restore use of your arm.

Compassionate Allowances

In addition to providing disability benefits for breast cancer patients, the Social Security Administration will also expedite the benefits process for women who are especially vulnerable. This is called Compassionate Allowances. Usually, a claim takes around five months to process. If you meet one of the following criteria, however, your claim will be processed quickly under Compassionate Allowances, sometimes approved in as little as ten days:

  • If your cancer has returned despite chemotherapy or surgery.
  • If your cancer is inoperable.
  • If you have IBC or metastatic breast cancer.

While Compassionate Allowances help you avoid the lengthy review process, you’ll still have to wait five months after applying before receiving the first payment.

How to Apply

You can apply for Social Security disability benefits online. While you won’t have to hand over any medical records because the Social Security Administration will gather them for you, you must list every doctor who’s treated you, as well as every hospital where you’ve received cancer treatment.

Help Support the AiRS Foundation!

A number of women cannot afford any kind of breast reconstruction after a mastectomy due to breast cancer. Because reconstruction is often a vital step toward healing, we at the AiRS Foundation offer grants for women to receive this surgery. But we can’t do this without support from our donors. Consider helping a woman in need today! Every dollar — even just one dollar — makes an enormous impact!