Many disabilities are either things that people have experienced for their entire lives or the result of injuries that they suffered. For example, someone who suffers from a limb amputation in a car accident would then be dealing with a lifelong disability, as could someone who suffers from oxygen deprivation as a baby.
But what if you have an illness or a disease that comes on later in life? For instance, cancer is one of the most common diagnoses in the United States. Would that qualify as a disability for the Social Security Administration (SSA)? It is clearly a serious issue, as it is the second leading cause of death.
It’s decided on a case-by-case basis
In some cases, cancer certainly can be a disability. But don’t assume that it will be in all cases, because there are also many situations in which it would not qualify under the guidelines set out by the SSA. Every case is unique, and it depends on a lot of different factors, such as the extent of the disease or the location.
For example, someone who has minor skin cancer on their shoulder would likely not qualify as being disabled because they could still fully perform all of the tasks necessary at their job, even while getting treatment. But someone who has developed lung cancer, on the other hand, may have trouble breathing and even moving around, meaning that they certainly can no longer work. You have to add to this the fact that the chemotherapy or radiation being used to treat them can also have a detrimental impact on their health, whereas someone with skin cancer may need only minor surgery.
If you do believe that you have a disability and you are seeking Social Security benefits, be sure you know about all the steps you can take.