“You have cancer.”


No one wants to here these words. A cancer diagnosis is frightening. It changes your life. And fighting this disease becomes your #1 priority. During this difficult time, you should not have to worry about money or how you will pay your bills.


Each year millions of people are diagnosed with cancer. Some types of cancer are treated easily, Others require extensive treatment that can take a toll on the patient.


Cancer and side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation often used to treat it can make it difficult for you to keep working. Many cancer patients reach a point where they are unable to work full time. Lost income can cause financial stress, which makes fighting cancer even more difficult.


We have some good news. Those of you who are unable to work due to cancer may have a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.


How Can I Receive Social Security Disability Benefits for Cancer in Virginia?


Keep reading to learn more about cancer and how you can receive Social Security Disability benefits if you’re unable to work while battling this disease.


What is Cancer?


There are many types of cancer. But they all have one thing in common. There is uncontrolled cell growth in the body that has spread to surrounding tissues.


Usually cancer starts in one area of the body and spreads. Once the cancer spreads, it becomes more difficult to treat.


There are six major types of cancer: leukemia; carcinomas; lymphoma; sarcoma; myeloma; and cancer of the central nervous system. Leukemia affects the body’s blood that forms tissue. Carcinomas are cancers of the skin and organ tissue linings. Myeloma and lymphoma affect the immune system. Sarcoma attacks the body’s supportive tissues. Cancer of the central nervous system attacks the brain or the spinal cord.


Some cancers form tumors, which is a name for a mass of tissue. Other cancers, such leukemia, do not. A cancerous tumor can spread into nearby tissues. And sometimes, cancer cells break off and travel to other places in the body through the lymph system or blood. These cells can form new tumors in other parts of the body.


Diagnosing Cancer


Doctors will run many tests when trying to diagnose cancer. Common tests include: blood counts; blood tests; biopsies; x-rays; CT scans; MRIs; surgical diagnostic tests; spinal taps; and, ultrasounds. These tests may be repeated as your doctor tracks the condition.


Common Cancer Symptoms


Because there are many different types of cancer, symptoms will vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms of cancer include: weakness; swollen lymph nodes; abnormal lumps; and, fatigue.


Proving You’re Disabled and Entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits for Cancer


Though it is frightening, a cancer diagnosis is not enough to receive Social Security Disability benefits.


Anyone who files for Social Security Disability benefits in Virginia must show:


  • That they have a medical condition that has lasted for at least one year or that is expected to last for at least one year
  • That they have enough work credits to qualify for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB)
  • That they are unable to perform their past relevant work
  • That there is no work that exists in the national economy that they can perform given their age, education, and work experience


Many cancer patients are unable to work while undergoing treatment, which can last more than a year. Unfortunately obtaining DIB benefits is a lengthy process. We recommend contacting a Social Security Disability lawyer Richmond VA to help you prove you’re disabled and get approved for DIB benefits. 


What Does the Social Security Administration Look at When Deciding Claims for Social Security Disability Benefits for Cancer?


There are two ways to obtain Social Security Disability benefits for cancer – by meeting a listing or by showing that you are unable to perform any work that may exist in significant numbers in the national economy based on your residual functional capacity assessment and your age, education, and past work experience.


Section 13.00 of Social Security’s Listing of Impairments covers cancer. This section outlines specific medical findings that support an award of Social Security Disability benefits for cancer. It covers the following types of cancer:


  • Soft tissue cancers of the head and neck
  • Skin cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Salivary glands
  • Thyroid gland
  • Breast
  • Sarcoma
  • Maxilla, orbit, or temporal fossa
  • Nervous system
  • Lungs
  • Pleura or mediastinum
  • Esophagus or stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine
  • Liver or gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Kidneys, adrenal glands, or ureters
  • Urinary bladders
  • Cancers of the female genital tract
  • Prostate gland
  • Testicles
  • Penis
  • Cancer treated by bone marrow or stem cell transplant
  • Malignant melanoma


Even if you do not meet a listing, you can still prove that you don’t have the physical or mental ability to perform work that on a regular, full-time basis. But doing so isn’t easy. Contact a disability attorney in Richmond or a Norfolk Social Security Disability lawyer to increase your chance of success.

Contact Us Today to Get Help Winning Social Security Disability for Cancer in Virginia

Are you trying to decide whether to apply for SSD benefits? Did you just receive a denial letter from Disability Determination Services? It doesn’t matter whether you’re filing an initial application or filing an appeal for disability benefits, we’re here to help and support you.

Call or e-mail us today to get started! We’re available 24/7 for Virginia’s disabled adults and children. And we’ll look into whether you have a Virginia workers compensation claim if your job caused your cancer or a long term disability claim if you have an individual or employer-provided policy.