The Importance of Applying for SSDI Benefits After a Serious Diagnosis

Life often unfolds in unexpected ways. Individuals receiving a serious diagnosis, such as lung cancer, are not always sure what the next right step should be, what their lives will look like in six months, or what they will need to get through it.

Although everyone is different, the reality for many who battle serious diseases like lung cancer is that the fight can take a physical and emotional toll that renders them unable to work. In order to make sure they have the financial support when they need it, people are encouraged to contact Social Security Disability attorneys in New York City as soon as possible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Lung Cancer Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 200,000 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007. That same year the disease claimed nearly 160,000 lives. The agency estimated 222,000 people would be diagnosed with the lung cancer in 2010.

Lung cancer is difficult to detect. In fact, there may be no symptoms until the disease has progressed to an advanced form. As a result, it often is not discovered until it has metastasized to other parts of the body, making it the most common cause of cancer death in the United States. When it is discovered, it almost always requires aggressive treatment, which keeps most individuals from working.

Social Security Disability Benefits and the Application Process

Fortunately, SSDI benefits can be expedited for people whose illnesses meet the list of conditions for compassionate allowances, like lung cancer. These benefits can help pay the mortgage, put food on the table and purchase other necessities.

Unfortunately, SSDI payments are not normally immediately available even to eligible applicants; For example, applicants must be disabled for at least five full months in addition to meeting other eligibility requirements before payments commence. Therefore, people who receive a specific serious diagnosis, like lung cancer, should apply immediately for SSDI benefits to avoid delays in receiving benefits.

The SSDI application can be complicated and lengthy. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of eligibility requirements, such as the applicant's legal status, eligibility based on their earnings record, as well as the extent of one's disability even after treatment is concluded in order to determine whether an individual qualifies for benefits.

There are three basic steps to obtaining social security benefits.

  • Preparing the forms necessary and providing medical evidence for the SSA at the initial stage
  • Reviewing the application before a judge if denied at the initial stage
  • Further appeals (if necessary)

Navigating through the complex forms required by the SSA and gathering the appropriate medical evidence can be confusing and stressful during a time when energies are needed to focus on recovery. Utilizing a New York City Social Security Disability attorney can make the process easier.

Compassionate Allowances

For most people, it may take several months before they are approved for SSDI benefits. Fortunately, the SSA has special fast-track procedures for applicants with the most severe illnesses. Known as compassionate allowances, these diseases and conditions are pre-determined to be disabling events. This allows the SSDI to expedite the processing of a claim, approving benefits quickly and with less medical information.

The list of compassionate allowances includes many illnesses in addition to many cancers, including both non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancers.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a disabling illness, SSDI benefits may provide critical financial support while you are out of work. It is important to apply for these benefits as soon as possible. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can guide you through the process, making sure you have what you need to get these important benefits.