DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR BREAST CANCER
SSDI and SSI benefits are available for individuals who have breast cancer. In order to win those benefits, however, we recommend you hire an SSD attorney. Attorneys who practice Social Security law will understand how to obtain the medical records you need to win your case. They will also know how to win your breast cancer benefits.
Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits are available for individuals with breast cancer who cannot work for longer than 12 months. In order to get SSDI payments, you must have paid taxes. You must also have the proper number of quarters of coverage with the SSA. Check your work record online on Social Security’s website. You just need to make an account. It takes five minutes to make a personal account on the SSA website. There, you can check every year of your work record and the amount of your monthly SSD benefit.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are also available for those who have a severe medical condition that prevents them from working. In order to win SSI benefits, you must have a severe medical condition and also meet SSA’s income and asset rules.
An attorney can tell you if you have a good chance of winning SSD benefits. They can help you apply for benefits too. Likewise, they will be able to make sure that you do not miss an appeal. Your attorney can also prepare you to testify in court. If you have breast cancer, the last thing you want to be worrying about is your Social Security benefits. Contact Cannon Disability Law today for a free review of your SSD case.
WHAT IS BREAST CANCER?
Breast Cancer is a disease in which breast cells grow out of control. Breast cancer can occur in men and women. However, male breast cancer is not as common as it is among women. There are different kinds of breast cancer. The possibility of winning benefits for breast cancer depends upon the kind of breast cancer you have and the severity of the breast cancer.
Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. The breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. Lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. And, the connective tissue surrounds everything and holds it together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules.
Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized. If the cancer spreads from the breast to other parts of the body, then it becomes even more dangerous and can result in death. For example, learn more information about cancer of the female genital tract.
INVASIVE DUCTAL & INVASIVE LOBULAR CARCINOMA
The most common kinds of breast cancer are:
- Invasive ductal carcinoma. The cancer cells grow outside the ducts into other parts of the breast tissue. Invasive cancer cells can also spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body.
- Invasive lobular carcinoma. Cancer cells spread from the lobules to the breast tissues that are close by. These cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body.
There are several other less common kinds of breast cancer, such as Paget’s disease, external icon medullary, mucinous, and inflammatory breast cancer.
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a breast disease that may lead to breast cancer. The cancer cells are only in the lining of the ducts, and have not spread to other tissues in the breast.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BREAST CANCER
Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. However, some warning signs of breast cancer are:
- New lump in the breast tissue or in the armpit. This is one of the most common signs of breast cancer. The lump may feel different from the surrounding breast tissue and it does not go away over time.
- Swelling or thickening in part of the breast.
- Irritation or dimpling of the breast skin. You should look for signs dimpling or thickening of the skin on the breast. The skin changes may give your breast an orange peel texture.
- Red or flaky skin around the nipple area or on the breast. Flaky skin symptoms or irritation of the nipple that doesn’t go away with usual treatments should be of concern to you as a sign of breast cancer.
- Pain in the nipple area. Pain in the nipple is a sign, as is inversion or retraction of the nipple.
- Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast. Unexplained changes in the size or shape of one or both breasts can be a warning sign that you have breast cancer.
- Pain in any area of the breast. Breast pain is not usually a sign of breast cancer, but you should still see a doctor if you have breast pain, as it could be due to breast cancer.
Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer. You should do regular breast exams yourself and have a yearly mammogram. If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, then you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
WHAT IS A BREAST BIOPSY?
A breast biopsy is a procedure, usually done using a needle, in which your doctor takes out cells or a small piece of tissue from the part of your breast where they think there is cancer. Next, the doctor looks at it under a microscope to see if there are signs of cancer. If your doctor finds something suspicious during a routine breast exam, mammogram, or ultrasound, they may recommend this test. Possible signs of trouble include:
- A lump or mass that you can feel in your breast
- Masses filled with fluid (cysts) or small calcium deposits
- Nipple problems like bloody discharge
BREAST CANCER GENES
For years, women with breast cancer in their families have had the option to get tested for mutations in two genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2. If you have mutations in these genes, you have a higher risk for the disease. There have been cases of famous individuals, such as Angelina Jolie, having a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene.
BRCA mutations are among dozens of other genetic mutations that raise the risk of breast or ovarian cancer. About 12 percent of all women will develop breast cancer during their lives. However, 55 to 65 percent of women with a BRCA1 mutation will develop breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
WOMEN WITH BRCA1 REDUCE CANCER RISK IF THEY HAVE OVARIES REMOVED BY AGE 35
Doctors are also stating that women with certain genetic mutations that increase their risk of breast and ovarian cancer, can cut the risk by as much as 80 percent if they get their ovaries removed by age 35. It’s the first study about this genetic mutation to show just how much the operation can do to lower the risk of cancer.
A THIRD GENE WHOSE MUTATIONS CAUSE BREAST CANCER
Recently, according to The New York Times, doctors are warning that there is a third gene whose mutations cause breast cancer. The third gene is the PALB2 gene. The risk of breast cancer for women who have mutations in the PALB2 gene is almost as high as it is for those with the BRCA mutations.
Doctors have known about this gene since 2014, but some women who got genetic screening before 2014 were likely not tested for this gene. If you had genetic testing prior to 2014, ask your doctor for further genetic testing for breast cancer.
People who have the PALB2 mutation have almost as great a risk of getting breast cancer as those who have the BRCA mutations. Like the BRCA mutations, this mutation also increases the risk of ovarian and pancreatic cancer. Anyone who gets genetic testing for breast cancer now will likely also be screened for PALB2 mutations.
However, many patients screened before 2014 were not tested for it. They may have a false sense of security if they were found to be free of the BRCA gene, breast cancer experts said. If you have the PALB2 gene, you need to be monitored as regularly as those with BRCA mutations.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR BREAST CANCER?
Breast cancer is treated in several ways. It depends on the kind of breast cancer and how far it has spread. People with breast cancer often get more than one kind of treatment.
- Surgery. An operation where doctors cut out cancer tissue.
- Chemotherapy. Using special medicines to shrink or kill the cancer cells. The drugs can be pills you take or medicines given in your veins, or sometimes both.
- Hormonal therapy. Blocks cancer cells from getting the hormones they need to grow.
- Biological therapy. Works with your body’s immune system to help it fight cancer cells or to control side effects from other cancer treatments.
- Radiation therapy. Using high energy rays (similar to X-rays) to kill the cancer cells.
Doctors from different medical areas will often work together to treat your cancer. Surgeons are the doctors who perform operations, such a removing a tumor. Medical oncologists are doctors who treat your cancer with medicine. Radiation oncologists are doctors who treat your cancer with radiation therapy. For more information, visit the National Cancer Institute’s Breast Cancer Treatment Option Overview.
Obviously, when you have breast cancer and undergo treatment, you may also experience depression or anxiety. If you have a mental condition, then you need treatment for that too. Learn more about depression and benefits.
INFORMATION ABOUT CLINICAL TRIALS
Clinical trials use new treatment options to see if they are safe and effective. If you have cancer, you may want to take part. Visit the sites listed below for more information.
- NIH Clinical Research Trials and Youexternal icon (National Institutes of Health)
- Learn About Clinical Trialsexternal icon (National Cancer Institute)
- Search for Clinical Trialsexternal icon (National Cancer Institute)
- ClinicalTrials.govexternal icon (National Institutes of Health)
RECENT ARTICLE SHOWS AI DETECTS BREAST CANCER
The New York Times writes that in Hungary, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is currently being used to detect breast cancer. So far, the AI technology is showing the ability to spot cancer at least as well as human radiologists. AI is able to find signs of breast cancer when doctors miss them.
Many people believe AI technology could easily apply to detect illness like breast cancer in a mammogram. This would be a boon to those with breast cancer. For example, in 2020, there were 2.3 million breast cancer diagnoses and 685,000 deaths from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.
However, use of the cancer testing technology still faces many hurdles. Clinical trials are needed before the AI system can be more widely used as a second or third reader of breast cancer screens. The AI tool must also show it can produce the correct results on women of all ages and body types. Additionally, the AI technology must prove it can recognize more complex forms of breast cancer and cut down on false positives that are not cancer. But doctors are hopeful that AI technology can improve public health.
NATIONAL RESOURCES FOR BREAST CANCER CARE
The National Breast Cancer foundation offers the following financial assistance for breast cancer patients. You can find many other resources on their website. These are only some of the organizations and programs that are available to those with breast cancer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides access to breast cancer services to women in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories, and 12 tribal organizations.
Information about free or low cost mammogram programs is available through NCI’s Cancer Information Service at 1-800-422-6237.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers lists for free or low cost mammograms and financial assistance that is based on your location. When you go to their website, Cancer.org, look for the “About Us” tab in the right corner. After you click on that, then select your state in the “Where We Help” menu. This will direct you to a list of local resources.
SSA’S COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCE FOR BREAST CANCER WITH RECURRENT OR DISTANT METASTASES
The SSA states that certain severe forms of breast cancer are a compassionate allowance under the SSD benefits program. Individuals with breast cancer that meet the rules under the following names have a poor chance of surviving breast cancer. This means that the 5 year survival rate for breast cancers that have spread to other parts of the body or have stage IV breast cancer is about 20%. SSA’s list of compassionate allowances shows the following types of breast cancer to be payable:
- Metastatic Lobular Cancer;
- Breast Carcinoma (Stage IV);
- Metastatic Breast Carcinoma;
- Ductal Carcinoma of the Breast (Stage IV);
- Metastatic Breast Cancer;
- Lobular Carcinoma of the Breast Stage (IV);
- Metastatic Ductal Carcinoma and Metastatic Ductal Cancer.
PHYSICAL FINDINGS AND SIGNS OF METASTATIC SPREAD
Under physical findings, those with listing level Breast Cancer may present with:
- A breast lump or changes in breast size or shape
- Skin changes
- Nipple inversion or other nipple abnormalities
- Axillary lump or contour changes
- Dilated veins
Signs of metastatic spread may include:
- Breathing trouble
- Bone pain
- Abdominal distention
- Localizing neurologic signs
- Altered mental function or headaches
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, you need to be checked for breast cancer. It is also very important to obtain your mammogram. You should also be doing monthly breast exams.
SSA’S LISTING 13.10 FOR BREAST CANCER
Below you will find the listing that the SSA uses to determine whether or not your breast cancer meets or equals their rules for SSD benefits. This is the information you should give to your treating doctors. If your breast cancer meets these rules for greater than 12 months, then you will be paid SSD benefits.
A. Locally advanced cancer (inflammatory carcinoma, cancer of any size with direct extension to the chest wall or skin, or cancer of any size with metastases to the ipsilateral internal mammary nodes).
B. Carcinoma with metastases to the supraclavicular or infraclavicular nodes, to 10 or more axillary nodes, or with distant metastases.
C. Recurrent carcinoma, except local recurrence that remits with anticancer therapy.
D. Small cell (oat cell) carcinoma.
E. With secondary lymphedema that is caused by anticancer therapy and treated by surgery to salvage or restore the functioning of an upper extremity. Consider under a disability until at least 12 months from the date of the surgery that treated the secondary lymphedema. Thereafter, evaluate any residual impairments under the criteria for the affected body system.
CANNON DISABILITY CAN WIN YOUR SSD & SSI BENEFITS
HOW OUR SSD ATTORNEYS HELP YOU PREPARE FOR COURT
Throughout your SSD benefits case, our attorneys and staff help you collect your medical records. Medical records are crucial to winning your case. Learn more here about the importance of medical records. Once the evidence is complete, your case will be ready for a hearing. Your day in court is before a judge from the SSA. And, you are the main witness.
Prior to your court hearing, we will meet with you to talk about the questions the judge will ask. We will try to explain what kinds of questions you will have to answer. Also, we will also try to prepare you to answer those questions. Obviously, you will be answering questions about your breast cancer symptoms and any treatment symptoms.
Additionally, you will need to be able to talk about your ability to lift, sit, stand, and walk, throughout an eight hour work day. This is known as your residual functional capacity. You will also need to discuss whether your breast cancer impacts your ability to concentrate and focus on work tasks. Likewise, it is important for the judge to know if you are having fatigue or mental issues that make it difficult for you to get along with other workers and your boss.
THE MEDICAL EXPERT
You may think it would be best to not hire an attorney. But, that would be a mistake. It is always best to have an attorney with experience to be on your side. The first reason why it is important to have an SSD lawyer at the hearing is so you have someone you can rely on to explain the process. This will also ease your worry.
Second, there are other witnesses besides you. For example, the judge might decide to call a medical expert to testify. If the judge does this, the doctor is paid for his or her testimony by the SSA. However, the doctor is supposed to be an fair witness. The doctor will be there to testify about whether or not your physical or mental conditions meet or equal SSA’s rules. Therefore, the medical expert will testify as to whether your breast cancer meets or equals listing 13.10.
If the medical expert says that your breast cancer does not meet the listing, then what will you do? You may not know, but your SSD attorney does. You attorney will question the medical expert about your medical records. They can also point out that the medical opinion of your cancer doctor is better than the opinion of the medical expert at the hearing, who may not be a breast cancer expert. That is why it is best to have an attorney to question the doctor at the hearing.
THE VOCATIONAL EXPERT
Finally, there is almost always a vocational expert at the hearing. The VE is also a witness that the judge calls to testify. Like the medical expert, they are also paid by the SSA. However, they should be fair in their testimony. VEs are people who study the jobs people do. They also have experience placing people in jobs.
The VE is at the hearing to testify about your past jobs. The VE will also testify as to whether you can return to your past work. Additionally, the VE will testify if there is other work that you can do in the national economy, considering your cancer. The VE’s testimony is based on government rules. For example, the VE will often recite information about jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles.
HIRE THE BEST LAW FIRM TO WIN YOUR SSD BENEFITS
If you don’t hire an attorney, then there is a good chance you will not be able to question the medical or job expert at your hearing. You also may not know what kinds of questions the judge will ask. Similarly, you may not be ready to answer those questions in the proper way. Therefore, it is likely that you will not win your case at the hearing level.
Don’t take that chance. Hire a lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada and Salt Lake City, Utah with the experience you need to win your benefits. Learn here about Nevada SSD benefits. Also, learn more about Utah SSD benefits information. Learn information about Colorado SSDI benefits. Likewise, read here if you need California SSD benefits information. Read here, if you have leukemia or other forms of breast cancer.
WE ARE LEGAL EXPERTS AT SSD AND SSI BENEFITS
In the last 30 years, we have won over 20,000 SSDI and SSI hearings for our clients. Additionally, we have won over $100 million in ongoing and past due SSD and SSI benefits for our clients. During the time we have been in business, we have seen the SSA change their rules. In our opinion, it has become far more difficult to win Social Security cases. Also, the medical evidence and listing rules are more difficult to meet. Those people who come to the hearing without a lawyer not usually successful in winning benefits.
If you have breast cancer or any type of cancer and you know that you are not going to be able to work for more than 12 months, then you need to apply for benefits. Also, you need to do it right away. Don’t wait, thinking you might go back to work. If you do go back to work, you can always withdraw the SSD application. Meanwhile, if you don’t go back to work, then you have started the process. SSDI benefits and SSI benefits are available to you if you start an application on the Social Security website.
Remember, that to be paid SSDI and SSI benefits, you must file an application. Many people believe that once they file an application, the SSA will pay them back in time to when their breast cancer began. That is not true. Benefits are tied to the date that you apply. Not to the date that your breast cancer is found. SSI benefits begin on the date that file for benefits. SSD benefits can go back only one year prior to the date that you file your application, as long as you were not working due to breast cancer.
LEARN ABOUT WHAT OUR LEGAL TEAM DOES FOR YOU
At Cannon Disability Law, we can help you apply for benefits. Also, we can help you appeal a denial from the SSA. Likewise, we can represent you in court. If necessary, we can also appeal your case to the Appeals Council. Additionally, we can file an appeal in Federal Court. We can represent you not matter where you live, whether it be Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, or California.
Also, we bring over 60 years of legal experience to your case. For instance, Dianna Cannon has been helping her clients win benefits for over thirty years. Brett Bunkall and Andria Summers also have many years of legal experience. You can learn more on our About Us page. Together, we have won over 20,000 Social Security cases. You can trust that we will do everything we can to win your SSD and SSI benefits.
HIRE CANNON DISABILITY WITH NO MONEY UPFRONT
We will use our skills to help you through the Social Security process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make it easier for you. We offer a free review of your case. There is no pressure to become a client if you call. You can simply ask questions. We will answer and if we can’t help you, we will refer you to someone who can.
It also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefit. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, the fee is capped at $7200 by the SSA. You do not pay more than the cap. And, 25% is usually less than the cap. You pay which ever amount is less between the cap and 25% of your back benefit. And, you pay only if we win your benefits.
If there are costs in your case, then you pay those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. Usually the only cost is to pay for a copy of your medical records. You owe costs whether we win or lose. Again, attorney fees are paid from your back benefit. But, to hire most lawyers, you have to pay upfront. We don’t work like that. You don’t have a job. So how can you pay upfront? The only way for you to pay us is for us to win your case. So, that is our goal. Contact us today for legal help in your breast cancer case.