• Christopher Le

Social Security Disability Benefits for Cancer Patients

How Do Cancer Patients Receive Social Security Disability Benefits


Most of us knows someone who has successfully battled cancer, but being diagnosed with any kind of cancer is still a shock. Your prognosis and treatment will largely come down to the type of cancer you have and how quickly you were able to identify it.

Due to your diagnosis of cancer or the treatments you are receiving, you may be unable to work. If you are unable to work due to a cancer diagnosis and treatment, you may be able to file for Social Security Disability benefits. As an experienced social security lawyer, we can help guide you through every step of the process.

Cancer and SSDI Benefits

There are close to 15 million people are currently living with cancer in the United States according to the American Cancer Society. On average, both men and women have approximately a 40% chance of developing some type of cancer in their life. The most common types of cancer diagnosis include:

  • Breast cancer

  • Prostate cancer

  • Colorectal cancer

  • Lung cancer

  • Bladder cancer

  • Skin cancers and melanomas

  • Leukemia

  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

  • Throat cancer

  • Cancers of the stomach, liver, and pancreas.

Cancer treatments will depend on the cancer type, the location of the cancer and how rapidly it has spread throughout your body. Getting rid of cancer usually involves radiation or chemotherapy therapy treatments and even surgery to remove masses and damaged tissue. In addition to the impact you suffer due to the symptoms of cancer such as weight loss, weakness, depression, and sleep disturbances, diagnostic testing and treatments can significantly impact your health as well. In situations where your cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery prevent you from maintaining a job, social security disability benefits will be able to assist you in being able to provide for yourself and your family. Social security disability insurance, also known as SSDI, can provide you a source of income during the period of time you are unable to work.



Cancer in Remission and Social Security Disability Benefits

Remission is defined as the decrease or disappearance of cancer signs and symptoms. Remission can be partial, allowing the patient to resume their usual activities, or it may be complete, although cancer could still exist in parts of the body.

In cases of partial or complete remission, you may be entitled to SSDI benefits, even if you may be able to return to work work. Based on the claimants’ medical condition and prognosis, there are two types of diaries SSA may keep in keeping tabs about your case:

  • Medical Improvement Expected (MIE) diaries, for individuals who, based on medical determinations, are expected to recover fully from the disease at some point;

  • Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE) diaries, in cases where a claimant is expected to suffer permanent disabilities.

Utilizing MIE or MINE will depend on the type of cancer you have and the severity to which it has spread throughout your body. In cases involving an MIE, a 3 year period of remission is generally required before SSA will change your disability status. This doesnt mean your benefits cannot be cut off during this period. If you start working again and are capable of substantial gainful activity (SGA) earnings, your benefits could be reduced or could cease.


If you suffer from a life changing medical diagnosis such as cancer, you need an experienced attorney to help you file for your disability benefits. Please contact me at 210-885-3408, and Id be glad to help.

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