A diagnosis of cancer brings many concerns and fears, and this is especially true if you have limited financial resources or are unable to work due to your symptoms or treatment.
There is a fast track to receiving financial assistance through the Social Security Administration which applies to people with certain forms of cancer and other medically severe diseases. Called a Compassionate Allowance, this Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program offers several benefits for struggling cancer patients:
It is based on your specific diagnosis
The Social Security Administration recognizes that there are diseases including certain forms of cancer which definitely meet the standards for a successful disability claim. Rather than making these cancer patients jump through hoops, they approve Compassionate Allowance claims without requiring as much documentation as standard SSI applicants need to provide.
There are no special forms to request if you are diagnosed with cancer, you're low or no income, and you want to be approved for a Compassionate Allowance claim. You will simply need to fill out the standard SSI form and provide proof of your condition, income and resources.
Your SSI benefits are not taxed
Unlike Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) payments, your SSI payments are not considered taxable income. This gives you one less thing to worry about as you receive care for your cancer and aim for recovery.
SSDI is based on a person's inability to work whether or not they have income or resources. SSI is for people who have limited or no resources and must rely on their SSI income to meet their living expenses. It's not likely that you will owe taxes when you're scraping by, and the income from SSI is not added to your taxable income sum on your yearly IRS return.
New cancers are added to cover more applicants
The Social Security Administration maintains a list of diseases which qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program.
New cancers which have been added are:
- Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor
- Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis
- Oligodendroglioma Brain Cancer-Grade III
- Prostate Cancer
- Soft Tissue Sarcoma
If you don't see your cancer on the list, it may still be a qualifying condition under another disease listing. If your cancer doesn't qualify for the Compassionate Allowance plan, you can still submit your claim using the same form, but it will not be processed as quickly as the fast track application, and you may need more documentation to prove your need.
Speak with a qualified Social Security attorney, like one at Gieg Law Offices, to determine whether you qualify for the Compassionate Allowance SSI program. You can also qualify for SSDI benefits under the Compassionate Allowances program even if you have assets and income as long as you are unable to work due to your cancer. A knowledgeable Social Security lawyer will be able to help you fill out the correct form for your medical and financial situation.