No doubt that receiving a diagnosis of cancer is both traumatic and overwhelming. You may be unable to work and keep up with their normal everyday lifestyles as a result. Depending on the nature of the cancer, you may be eligible to qualify them to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI).


Certain cancers make an applicant immediately eligible to start receiving benefits. Based on the cancer diagnosis alone, the following types of cancers garner immediate approval: metastatic brain or spinal cord carcinoma, inflammatory breast cancer, mesothelioma of the pleura, small cell cancer of the lungs, primary cancer of bile ducts, liver, or gall bladder, and pancreatic cancer.

Further, if the applicant’s cancer has spread beyond the regional lymph nodes it is likely that the applicant will be approved by meeting the neoplastic disease listing.


The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes a decision based on the applicant’s medical record and documentation to prove hospital admissions and discharges, physician office notes, imaging studies, and blood work. Specifically, SSA looks for the cancer’s origin, whether it is primary, recurrent, or a metastatic malignant tumor.  It may review biopsy operative results as well.


For individuals suffering from a type of cancer that is not listed above, there is still potential for disability benefits. Often, it reduces down to the fact that an individual must prove that their functional capacity is limited, and prevents working, because of the effects of the cancer and treatment. Even those in remission may show SSA that there is significant post-treatment symptoms that still restrict their ability to work.  This analysis is fairly typical in many of the cases we see at Margolius, Margolius and Associates.  It exemplifies those difficult situations where the reality of the disability is not quick to prove, but nevertheless is deserving of approval of benefits.  Feel free to call should you have any questions.