Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Cancer in New Jersey
People who are unable to work due to a cancer diagnosis are able to receive benefits through the Social Security Administration. One specific program known as Social Security Disability Insurance provides benefits to people who have disabilities that prevent them from working and earning a living. If you are a New Jersey resident and are unable to go to work due to cancer or treatments such as chemotherapy, you may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Call (215) 701-6519 today for a free consultation with the social security disability lawyers at Young Marr & Associates for help applying for these benefits, and to learn what you can do if you are denied coverage.
Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Benefits for Cancer
Applicants for Social Security Disability Insurance in New Jersey must meet certain requirements regarding income and the length and severity of their medical condition to have their applications approved.
The Social Security Administration maintains an income requirement that prevents applicants from earning incomes that exceed a certain amount. Incomes that exceed a certain limit are regarded as “substantial gainful activity” (also known as SGA). In 2019, applicants who earn an income that exceeds $1,220 per month are considered to be engaged in “substantial gainful activity” and are disqualified from receiving SSDI benefits. Applicants who are blind have their threshold for SGA set at $2,040. Small business owners are subject to different income requirements when applying for SSDI benefits as well.
Applicants for SSDI benefits must also have conditions that are considered to be severe by the Social Security Administration. The SSA considers a condition to be severe if it prevents an individual from earning a living. At the time that someone applies for Social Security Disability Insurance, an applicant must have already had their condition for at least 12 months, be expected to have the condition for 12 months into the future, or be expected to die from their condition.
SSDI Requirements for Cancer Patients
Applicants with cancer must also meet criteria for their specific type of cancer to have their application for benefits accepted. The Social Security Administration lists the criteria for each type of cancer in the Listing of Impairments (also referred to as the “Blue Book”); these criteria determine whether an applicant has a condition that qualifies for SSDI benefits. The Social Security Administration evaluates all cancers, except for those associated with HIV. The following are the types of cancer noted in the Listing of Impairments (please consult the Listing of Impairments for more information about the criteria for each):
- Soft tissue cancers of the head and neck
- Skin cancer and malignant melanoma
- Cancer of the esophagus, lungs, breasts, small and large intestine, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, nervous system, or kidney
- Urinary bladder carcinoma
- Female genital tract carcinoma or sarcoma
- Prostate gland sarcoma and testicular cancer
- Salivary glands, thyroid gland, or adrenal gland cancer
- Skeletal system sarcoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Cancer treated by bone marrow or stem cell transplantation
When the Social Security Administration is evaluating the cancer of the applicant, they consider the origin of the cancer; the extent of the cancer’s impact; the duration, frequency, and response to treatments; and the effects of post-therapeutic residuals.
The Social Security Administration will also need certain medical documents that prove that the cancer meets their specific requirements. Evidence that specifies the cancer’s type, extent, and location will be accepted. If your cancer entailed surgery, the Social Security Administration will also accept an operative note or pathology report. Summaries of hospitalizations and other medical reports that include details of surgeries and other pathological findings will also be accepted.
What to Do If You Are Denied SSDI Benefits in New Jersey
After applicants file for SSDI benefits, they will need to wait for between 3 and 5 months to receive a response from the Social Security Administration. This response will tell them whether or not their application has been accepted.
It is much more common for applicants for SSDI benefits to have their applications be denied than it is for their applications to be accepted. About 70% of people who apply for SSDI benefits have their applications denied. Most often, their applications are rejected because their condition is not severe enough to warrant benefits. Applications are also frequently denied because the applicant earns too much money or because the application has major errors.
However, having an application denied does not mean that all hope is lost. New Jersey residents with cancer who have had their applications for SSDI benefits denied are able to file an appeal. The appeals process begins when an applicant files a request for consideration, which will be followed by a disability appeal hearing. During this hearing, an administrative law judge will make a ruling about your case; if they accept your appeal, then you will begin to receive benefits, but if they deny it, you can continue the process by requesting a review of your case by the Appeals Council. If your appeal is denied by the Appeals Council, you are still able to take your case before a federal judge as a last attempt at an appeal. The lawyers at Young Marr & Associates can help people file applications that have a high chance of being accepted from the start.
Attorneys for New Jersey Cancer Patient Disability Benefits
The legal experts at Young Marr & Associates are available to help New Jersey residents who have applied for Social Security Disability benefits for their cancer. The attorneys at Young Marr & Associates are able to put their 25 years of experience to use to help people in need successfully file their applications for benefits. Get in touch to learn more. Call (215) 701-6519 today.