Receiving a cancer diagnosis is hard enough, but the effects and treatments of ovarian cancer can make it difficult to do all the things you used to do. With chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, you will likely miss time from work and not be able to fulfill all your duties right away when you return. Depending on your current health, prognosis, and reaction to the treatment, you may qualify to draw Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits based on your ovarian cancer diagnosis.
At Berger and Green, our Pittsburgh disability attorneys understand how stressful it can be to worry about your family’s financial health while undergoing cancer treatment. We want to help you relieve some of that anxiety by securing the disability benefits you deserve. We can review your documentation before you apply or fight a denial from the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD). Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a consultation.
How do I know if my ovarian cancer qualifies me for SSD?
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Ovarian cancer is included in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) book of impairment listings, which describes the type of conditions that can qualify a person as disabled.
To qualify, your medical records must show that your cancer:
- Spread beyond the pelvis, such as to the bowels or other organs;
- Spread beyond the lymph nodes in the pelvic region;
- Recurred following your initial treatment; or
- Is progressive or recurrent germ-cell cancer.
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If your medical records do not document a diagnosis that falls into any of these categories, you may still qualify. There are also general impairment listings that may apply to your condition. You may also qualify for disability if your medical records show you cannot work due to your current health condition or the side effects of your anti-cancer therapy.
What do I need to do to get disability benefits for ovarian cancer?
The key to getting the SSD benefits you deserve is to ensure your diagnosis and limitations are properly documented in your medical records. The BDD looks closely at the evidence provided by your medical records to decide whether you qualify for disability benefits.
To gain approval for benefits, the BDD will want to see:
- Scans and imaging showing the site of the primary cancer and any metastases;
- Lab results or other documentation showing the type of cancer;
- Operative notes and pathology reports from any biopsies or surgical procedures;
- A summary of any hospital stays and other documentation outlining treatments;
- Documentation showing response to therapy; and
- Evidence of recurrence, if applicable.
It is a good idea to talk to your doctor about your plan to apply for disability benefits. This will often prompt them to include information about your limitations and other key evidence in your medical file.
If you have questions about your documentation, you can give us a call. We would be glad to review your file before you submit it. While we cannot guarantee they will approve you, we have experience working with the BDD and we know what they are looking for.
Once you are certain you have the proper documentation of your condition, you can apply for SSD online or by contacting the local field office. Completing the application takes only a few minutes.
Can I get disability benefits sooner?
In most cases, you have to wait on the BDD and the SSA to review and approve your disability claim. This can take six weeks or longer to receive a response. Certain conditions, however, qualify for a reduced wait thanks to the Compassionate Allowances program.
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If your condition meets the qualifications set forth by the Compassionate Allowances program, your application receives an expedited review. Ovarian cancer qualifies for the program, if your medical records show:
- Your cancer spread to other parts of the body; or
- You have inoperable tumors.
For example, if your records show your cancer began in your ovaries but now also affects your bowels, bladder, or other organs, you qualify for an expedited review. You also qualify if doctors cannot remove your tumor because of its size or location. Often, this occurs when an ovarian cancer growth attaches to nearby vital organs.
There is no special application for the Compassionate Allowances program. If your medical records show you meet the qualifications, they should fast-track your application. This means you could know if you received approval in less than a month and receive your first check during the next cycle.
Do I need to contact a Pittsburgh disability lawyer before I apply?
If you have questions about whether or not your medical records provide the proper documentation, you may want to discuss your case with a qualified disability lawyer and schedule a review of your application. This is especially important if you are under financial stress and qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program.
We can check to ensure you have all the required documentation and that your medical records clearly demonstrate a qualifying disability. You do not want to apply expecting to receive benefits in only a few weeks and then have to navigate the appeals process because the BDD denied your claim.
If you do receive a letter of denial from the BDD, it is definitely time to give us a call. We can file a request for reconsideration and help you navigate the rest of the appeals process. We will fight for you until you get the benefits you deserve. It is important to act quickly, however. You only have 60 days to begin the appeals process.
How can I contact Berger and Green about getting disability for ovarian cancer?
The disability lawyers at Berger and Green serve Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. We can help you secure the disability benefits you deserve, allowing you to focus on beating your ovarian cancer. Call us today at 412-661-1400 to schedule a case review.