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Options for cancer patients who are unable to work

Cancer is a serious diagnosis that will likely affect every area of life, including employment. When a patient reaches a point where he or she is unable to work due to the side effects of the disease or treatment, there may be options available for financial assistance. Some patients may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income or Supplemental Security Income benefits. 

Pennsylvania cancer patients who have contributed to Social Security over the course of their employment may be eligible for disability benefits. However, the qualification guidelines for these benefits are very strict, and some patients may not fit the Social Security Administration's definition of disabled. Cancer is on the Administration's list of Compassionate Allowances, and approved patients may be able to receive benefits faster than the typical six-month waiting period. 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are designed to supplement an applicant's income. Cancer patients who have not worked in the past or who only worked for a short amount of time may be eligible for these types of benefits. Children with a cancer diagnosis may be eligible for SSI benefits, which can help a family provide needed care and treatment. 

A cancer diagnosis is a traumatic event for any Pennsylvania family. Serious medical issues commonly carry a heavy financial obligation, a burden that many individuals and families cannot carry alone. When a person is unable to work or a family needs financial help for a child with cancer, it can be complicated to navigate the benefits application process, especially if it is initially denied. A qualified lawyer can help a family navigate the process, file appeals and vigorously pursue the support needed. 

Source: cancer.org, "Disability benefits", Accessed on May 26, 2015

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