Share the blog post

According to, the most recent statistics say that 1 in 2 American men and 1 in 3 American women are at risk of developing some kind of cancer in their lifetime. For many with cancer, the symptoms and/or adverse effects of treatment make it difficult to continue working. 

Social Security Disability Benefits help to cover  the cost of medical care, housing, and living expenses for those unable to work during their cancer diagnosis. Sadly, many patients are denied disability with cancer. 

Why do these claim denials happen? And what can you do if you have been denied disability with cancer? Here’s a quick guide to help you increase your chances of receiving the benefits you need. 

What Qualifies Someone with Cancer for Social Security Disability Benefits?

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you need to be able to meet the SSA’s definition of disability:

The Social Security Act defines disability as, “the inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”

Meeting this definition involves passing the SSA’s 5-step sequential evaluation process, which looks at your work activity, the severity of your impairment, and more. 

For someone dealing with cancer, going through this process can seem incredibly onerous, but there is some helpful news – namely, that a number of cancers are on the Compassionate Allowances Conditions list. This list details medical conditions included in the Compassionate Allowances program, which “identifies claims where the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets Social Security’s statutory standard for disability” to allow for faster determination — so that, hopefully, you can receive the benefits you need in a more timely manner. 

At the Law Offices of Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C., we help people with cancer apply for disability all the time, and we can assist you in the application process as well. Working with a knowledgeable disability attorney removes the stress of having to deal with everything yourself – and gives you an experienced partner who understands the ins and outs of the process. 

Why Would Someone be Denied Disability With Cancer?

Unfortunately, it is still possible to be denied disability even if you have cancer. Under the law, here are some reasons why a cancer disability claim can be denied:

  1. The claimant is working at the Substantial Gainful Activity level.
  2. The impairment does not meet the SSA’s definition of “severe.”
  3. The impairment does not meet or equal in severity on of SSA’s listed impairments. 
  4. The claimant is able to perform past work.
  5. The claimant is able to engage in other work based on their age, education, past work experience, and the skills that they have gained.

Thankfully, if you are battling cancer and feel you were wrongfully denied Social Security disability, it is possible to appeal. 

Preparing for Your Disability Denial Appeal

After a denial, it is even more important to work with a legal professional on your appeal. The idea of going through an appeal can be incredibly stressful, but here’s the good news: we have worked with many people who have been denied cancer benefits on their appeals, and a high percentage of them are later approved.

What do you and your lawyer need to do?

In order to obtain disability benefits for cancer, it is important to collect your qualifying evidence to submit your appeal. Here is just some of the evidence which may per pertinent to your SSDI claim:

  •  Information regarding the type of cancer you have and how aggressive it is
  • The stage of your cancer – Note that stage one cancer claims are often denied, but the likelihood of disability increases with the stage of cancer
  • The demands of your work and how your current state makes you unable to perform your job requirements
  • The side effects of your cancer treatment and any other present symptoms that are debilitating and impact your day-to-day quality of life

It’s important to act quickly when you have been denied a disability claim. And be sure that your appeal provides the Social Security Administration with all applicable medical treatment information as well as how your cancer and other conditions may have changed and affected your ability to function.   

Have a Social Security Disability Insurance Attorney on Your Side 

It can be incredibly disheartening to be denied disability with cancer, but always remember that there is hope. With the right evidence and Social Security disability attorney on your side, you can greatly increase your chances of receiving benefits. 

Whether you are ready to apply or start the appeals process, consider reaching out to Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C. today. We can help you learn more about Social Security disability insurance and supplemental income benefits – and strengthen your case to obtain the support you need. 


Richard I. Feingold
Richard I. Feingold & Associates, P.C.
Personal Injury & Social Security Disability