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If I Have Skin Cancer, Can I Qualify for Disability Benefits?

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The winter season in Muncie seemed to last forever this year, but now the trees have budded and the flowers have bloomed. On these warm days, everyone is outside soaking up the missed sunshine.

It’s easy to forget that even though it is not the middle of summer yet, precautions should still be taken to minimize the sun’s damage to the skin. It’s tempting to start working on that summer tan or jump right into any outside activity going on, not taking a minute to properly protect your skin.

As one of the most common cancers in people younger than 30 years old, the effects of skin cancer are not discussed enough. Skin cancer can change your quality of life and, if severe, may leave you with limitations that may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits.

The Different Types of Skin Cancer and How Severe They Are

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In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiled a map of the number of skin cancer incidences by state. Indiana at the time had a rate of 19.8 per 100,000 people who reported having some form of skin cancer. There are three different types of skin cancer with varying levels of severity:

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common and least dangerous of all types of skin cancer. BCC typically forms after years of sun exposure or tanning indoors. If not treated, BCC can grow into nerves and bones of the surrounding tissue.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common type of skin cancer. Typically, SCC is developed on skin that gets frequent sun exposure. SCC is more severe than BCC since it can grow deep in the skin and cause more rapid damage and spreading.
  • Melanoma: As the deadliest of all skin cancers, melanoma develops in a mole-like form or as a dark spot on the skin.

Also in 2014, the CDC reported a rate of 2.7 deaths per 100,000 in the state of Indiana from melanoma. Even though it is one of the most common cancers, it’s not one of the most talked about. However, there are some precautions you can take to decrease your risk for melanoma:

  • Limit exposure to UV rays.
  • Know if you have any family history of melanoma.
  • Stand in the shade rather than the sun.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Wear hats and sunglasses.
  • Watch for abnormal moles or spots.
  • Take steps to strengthen your immune system.

Receiving Disability Benefits for Skin Cancer

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards disability benefits to those who have functional limitations because of a preexisting condition or injury. Even though you may have skin cancer, unless medical evidence supports your inability to work, it is not likely you will receive benefits.

Medical Evidence

There are three common ways you can prove to the SSA that you’re medically eligible for disability benefits:

  1. Meeting the requirements for disability caused by skin cancer as stated in the SSA’s listing of impairments
  2. Meeting the requirements for a different disease in the listing of impairments
  3. Providing sufficient medical evidence to prove you cannot work, despite your specific condition not being included in the listing of impairments

Whichever path is best for your specific situation, you will likely follow a similar set of steps to establish your condition to the SSA. The best way to prove any option is to provide detailed medical records that include biopsies, tissue tests, and treatment lengths, types, and results.

The SSA may find that you do not qualify for disability because of skin cancer; however, you may be able to meet the requirements for an equal disease. For example, if you have SCC but not melanoma and have to receive aggressive treatment since it will not go away after spreading, an argument could be made that you have equal disabilities of another disease.

You may not meet the necessary requirements for disability by skin cancer or an equal disease and have one option left: to prove functional limitation, or the lack of ability to work any other job. Sometimes, less severe skin cancers will spread over time. If this does happen, most likely the treatment thus far has not been successful. Considering this, if your cancer treatment lasts longer than a year, the side effects of your treatment have the potential to affect your performance ability. The side effects could make it impossible for you to attain a job, which may qualify you for disability benefits.

Hire a Muncie Disability Attorney

Social Security disability claims are long and drawn out and difficult to win. Therefore, seek help from Muncie attorneys. Call Hensley Legal Group or contact us online for your free consultation today.