Diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer? You May Qualify for Disability
Women diagnosed with ovarian cancer may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Like some other forms of cancer, ovarian cancer may require aggressive treatment, which can take a heavy toll on women’s bodies and may keep them from working. During this time, they may require financial and medical assistance, such as the disability benefits offered by the Social Security Administration.
Ovarian Cancer – The Silent Killer
A type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, ovarian cancer ranks among the leading causes of cancer-related deaths for women. The American Cancer Society estimates that as many as 21,750 women across the U.S. will receive new ovarian cancer diagnoses in 2020 and the disease will claim approximately 13,940 lives.
In the early stages, ovarian cancer may cause few or no symptoms. As the condition progresses, women may experience signs and symptoms such as pain, changes in urination patterns or bowel habits, unexpected vaginal bleeding, nausea, breathlessness, and fatigue. For some, the symptoms or the effects of ovarian cancer treatments may be so severe that they cannot work.
Disability Benefits Based on Medical Criteria
The SSA lists certain criteria women with ovarian cancer diagnoses must meet to qualify for benefits. Under Social Security’s Blue Book listing, ovarian cancers, except germ-cell cancers, must meet one of the following criteria: the disease has spread to the local lymph nodes or beyond them, otherwise extends beyond the pelvic area or recurs after the initial therapy. Those germ-cell forms of ovarian cancer that continue to progress or recur after the initial treatment may also qualify for benefits under the SSA’s medical criteria listing.
SSDI applicants whose conditions do not meet the necessary medical criteria may still qualify for benefits. Social Security may conduct a residual functional capacity analysis to determine applicants’ level of impairment based on their medical conditions. To this end, the SSA may examine people’s everyday abilities, the types of treatment they have tried or currently receive and their ability to maintain gainful employment.
The Compassionate Allowances Program
Through Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances program, those with advanced-stage ovarian cancer may receive an expedited disability decision that may allow them to begin receiving benefits more quickly. The CAL initiative was created to assist those with the most serious disabilities. Women whose conditions are unresectable, inoperable or have distant metastases may automatically qualify for hastened application processing through the CAL program.