Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is offered to claimants who are disabled, who cannot work, who have a condition which is expected to last at least 12 continuous months, and who are insured for SSDI. Recently on our disability blog a user asked, If I have been diagnosed with testicular cancer will I automatically qualify for SSDI benefits?
What is testicular cancer?
Testicular cancer, which is cancer located inside of the testicles of a man, is the most common cancer diagnosed in males ages fifteen through thirty-five. The good news is that testicular cancer can be easily treated, especially if it has not moved outside the testicles and is identified early in its development.
How do you know if you have testicular cancer?
Determining whether you have testicular cancer or another noncancerous condition will not be as simple as noticing an enlargement of the testicles or finding a lump. In fact, there are several other conditions such as hernias and cysts which may cause changes in the testes.
Symptoms which are most helpful in identifying testicular cancer include swelling, pain, tenderness, discomfort, heaviness in the scrotum, build-up of fluid in the scrotum, dull ache in the lower groin, breast tenderness, breast growth, lower back pain, shortness of breath, chest pain, and bloody sputum or phlegm, or swelling of one or both legs.
Cancer and SSDI benefits
If you have testicular cancer this may not result in the immediate approval of Social Security Disability Insurance. In fact, many types of cancers may not be severe enough to eliminate the claimants ability to work. If you are able to continue to work and perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) you will not qualify for SSDI benefits, regardless of what type of cancer is present.
Determining if you are disabled
To make a disability determination for testicular cancer the SSA will first determine if your condition meets or exceeds a listing in the SSAs official guidebook of disabling conditions and symptoms. Testicular cancer is evaluated under listing 13.00 Malignant Neoplastic Diseases, Section 13.25.
Under this listing the SSA will evaluate several criteria. First, they will determine if you have a cancerous tumor that is recurrent or has metastasized despite initial chemotherapy. Next, they will evaluate the origin of malignancy, the extent of involvement, and the duration and the frequency of treatment. The SSA will also determine if the treatment is so severe and your recovery so debilitating that you are unable to work.
Testicular Cancer and vocational medical allowance
If the SSA determines your condition does not meet or equal a listing this does not mean you will not win benefits. In some cases, you may be able to use the medical vocational allowance process to prove to the SSA that you do not have the residual capacity to work.
Winning SSDI through a medical vocational allowance, however, is generally more complicated, and you may need to talk to a disability lawyer if your initial application has been denied.
What do I need to win my case for testicular cancer?
The SSA will make their disability determination based almost exclusively on your medical records. With this in mind, getting the right documentation can be critical to the success of your case.
Medical documentation which will help you win your case can include medical information about the type, extent, and sites of your cancer, all operative reports, pathology reports, information about hospitalizations, records detailing the recurrence, persistence, and progression of your cancer; and information about how your treatment lowers your residual capacity to work.
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