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Helpful Information on Social Security Benefits and Cancer

Posted on March 23rd, 2017

Qualifying for Social Security Benefits With Cancer

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you may be concerned about making ends meet financially if you’ll be out of work while going through chemotherapy and other treatments. Fortunately, there could be resources available for you and your family. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits for people in need. Thousands of people receive disability benefits after a cancer diagnosis every year.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits With Cancer

A cancer diagnosis alone will not qualify for disability benefits. The SSA will need evidence that you’ll be out of work for at least 12 months due to your cancer’s complications or treatment, or that your cancer is terminal.

Every form of cancer will qualify differently. For example, esophageal cancer will qualify with just a diagnosis, as will any form of cancer that has spread to another organ. Breast cancer, on the other hand, usually need to be advanced to Stage III-B or further to qualify.  Some cancers that are highly treatable, such as prostate cancer, will not qualify unless they’ve spread to another organ, returned despite treatment, or are an aggressive form of cancer, such as small-cell cancer.

The SSA uses its own medical guide known as the Blue Book to evaluate your specific cancer diagnosis. The entire Blue Book can be found online, so be sure to review it with your doctor to determine if you’ll medically qualify.

Compassionate Allowances and Social Security

The average Social Security disability claim takes about five months to be approved, but sometimes up to 2 years if your initial application is denied. Fortunately, this is not the case for people with advanced forms of cancer. The SSA started its Compassionate Allowance initiative in 2008 to help people with clearly disabling conditions get approved for the resources they need quickly. Cancers that will qualify as a Compassionate Allowance with just a diagnosis include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Brain cancer
  • Inflammatory breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Salivary and sinonasal cancers
  • Thyroid cancer

 

If you don’t have one of the above diagnoses, you could still qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. So long as one of the following is true, your claim will be expedited:

  • Your cancer has returned despite treatment (3 months or more usually qualifies)
  • Your cancer is inoperable
  • Your cancer has spread to other organs.

There are no additional steps you need to take when filling out your Social Security application when applying with a Compassionate Allowance, nor is there any additional paperwork for you to fill out. When you submit your application, the SSA will automatically flag your application for expedited review. Instead of waiting for 5+ months to hear back from the SSA, you could be approved in as little as 10 days.

Keep in mind that even if you qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, your benefits will not start within 10 days. Unfortunately, the SSA still requires that disability recipients wait five months to receive their first payments.

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

The SSA has two types of disability benefit programs. The medical criteria for qualifying with cancer are the same for both, but each one is intended for a different type of applicant.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI pays benefits to disabled workers and their eligible dependents. To qualify, you must have worked a certain number of years and earned a sufficient number of work credits prior to becoming disabled. It is funded through payroll taxes, and recipients are eligible for Medicare coverage after two years.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is a needs-based benefit program intended for children, the elderly and disabled applicants with limited assets and financial resources. To qualify, your family’s combined income and resources must be no more than $3000. SSI recipients also qualify for Medicaid and even food stamps.

It is possible to qualify for both SSDI and SSI at the same time. This happens if your awarded SSDI benefits are lower than the SSI monthly maximum payment, which is $735 in 2017.

Starting Your Disability Application

Most applicants can complete the entire Social Security application entirely online. This is the easiest way to apply for disability benefits, as you can save your progress and complete the application at a later date.

If you’d prefer to apply in person, you’ll need to make an appointment with a Social Security field office. There are more than 1,300 offices nationwide, and every state has at least four offices. Regardless of how you apply, be sure to fill out your application as carefully as possible. If the SSA cannot locate your biopsy reports, surgical notes, or other medical records, you may be denied benefits due to a technicality!

Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/13.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Adult.htm

Compassionate Allowances: https://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

Apply Online: https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/

SSA Field Offices: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/social-security-disability-locations

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Loving Your Tummy

Posted on June 2nd, 2015

loving your tummy

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., June 18

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., June 30

Do you ever experience digestive discomfort? You’re not alone! Millions of Americans suffer from indigestion, cramps, acid reflux, bloating, constipation and diarrhea.  Luckily, there are specific foods that can help with many of these common digestive complaints and may help trim your waistline at the same time. Choose one of three available dates to attend this workshop where you will learn how common foods such as garlic, onions, apples and plums may be causing your digestive system undue stress. While other foods such as spinach, tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries may help keep your digestive system humming along. Join us to learn some quick tips for good digestion and sample recipes.  Presented by Sue Delegrange, M.S., R.D., CSSD

Unless otherwise noted, programs are free, open to the public and held in our Healing Arts Center, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825. Please call 484-9560 or toll free 866-484-9560 for more information or to reserve a seat.

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2015 Lapper and Survivors Day Recap

Posted on June 1st, 2015

Recap postcard III

Thank you to everyone who sponsored, donated, volunteered or participated in Lapper and Survivors Day 2015! Due to the generosity of many, we were able to raise over $60,000 which will help provide programs and services to people with cancer in our community.

 

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Dragon Boat Races!

Posted on May 29th, 2015

FW dragon boat logoThe inaugural Fort Wayne Dragon Boat races are coming to River Palooza.  Proceeds will benefit Cancer Services.

Opening Ceremonies:

6 p.m.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Headwaters Park West, 330 S. Clinton St.

Be sure to visit the Cancer Services booth where you can purchase a flower in honor of a friend or loved one to float in the river.

Race Day:

9:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Headwaters Park West, 330 S. Clinton St.

Races run from Wells Street Bridge to Harrison Street Bridge

There will be live music and entertainment, food trucks, souvenirs, a kid’s play area, face painting and games. Please visit www.riverpaloozafw.org for more information and maps showing where to park.

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The Big “O” and the Big “C”: 201 Intimacy Enhancers

Posted on May 28th, 2015

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Thursday May 28

Please join us for a second educational workshop on intimacy andholding hands cancer. Jen Fecher, a knowledgeable educator at Boudoir Noir’s School of Loving Arts, will share ways to improve intimacy and pleasure during and after cancer treatment. She will also discuss specific products available to enhance your intimate relationship. There will be plenty of time to ask questions and gain helpful ideas for new things to try.

Unless otherwise noted, programs are free, open to the public and held in our Healing Arts Center, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825. Please call 484-9560 or toll free 866-484-9560 for more information or to reserve a seat.

 

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Upcoming Genetic Testing Series Presentations

Posted on April 2nd, 2015

Parkview Health Genetic Counselors Rebecca Nelson, M.S. and Sarah King, M.S. will be presenting a two-part series on cancer and genetic testing in May.

  • May 6, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – The Genetics of Lady Business: A Discussion of Hereditary

This program will focus on rare hereditary causes of breast and ovarian cancer (BRCA1/2).  During this talk we will review basic genetics, family risk assessment, high risk medical management, genetic testing options, and the role of a genetic counselor.  We will reveal tips and tricks for collecting a family health history.  And, yes, there will be time to discuss Angelina Jolie-Pitt.

  • May 20, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. – Bringing up the Rear: A Discussion of Hereditary Colon Cancer

This final installment of the two part series will focus on rare hereditary causes of colon cancer (Lynch syndrome and FAP).  During this talk we will again review basic genetics, family risk assessment, high risk medical management, genetic testing options, and the role of a genetic counselor.  We will reveal tips and tricks for collecting a family health history specific to colon cancer.   Last “butt” not least, a review of nationwide efforts to start screening all colon tumors for Lynch syndrome will be included.

Both programs are free, open to the public and held in our Healing Arts Center, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825.  Please call 484-9560 or toll free 866-484-9560 for more information or to reserve a seat.

 

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Bust a Move video series Part 7: Nichole Moore, artist

Posted on September 27th, 2013

Bust a Move is one week from today and we can’t wait. Check out the latest video in the series on our YouTube channel promoting this year’s Bust a Move event that brings breast cancer survivors, artists, and cancer community members together to celebrate their triumph and remember the struggles they’ve experienced.

Nichole is one of the artist for this year’s Bust A Move, a fundraiser for women with breast cancer in our community on 10/4 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Tickets are available here: https://bustamove2013.eventbrite.com/

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Bust a Move video series Part 6: Paige Strong, artist

Posted on September 20th, 2013

This video is part of a series on our YouTube channel promoting this year’s Bust a Move event that brings breast cancer survivors, artists, and cancer community members together to celebrate their triumph and remember the struggles they’ve experienced.

Paige is one of the artist for this year’s Bust A Move, a fundraiser for women with breast cancer in our community on 10/4 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Tickets are available here: https://bustamove2013.eventbrite.com/

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Bust a Move video series Part 5: Shad Igney, artist

Posted on September 11th, 2013

This video is part of a series on our YouTube channel promoting this year’s Bust a Move event that brings breast cancer survivors, artists, and cancer community members together to celebrate their triumph and remember the struggles they’ve experienced.

Shad is one of the artist for this year’s Bust A Move, a fundraiser for women with breast cancer in our community on 10/4 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Tickets are available here: https://bustamove2013.eventbrite.com/

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Bust a Move video series Part 4: Sharon Simmons

Posted on September 5th, 2013

This video is part of a series on our YouTube channel promoting this year’s Bust a Move event that brings breast cancer survivors, artists, and cancer community members together to celebrate their triumph and remember the struggles they’ve experienced.

Sharon is one of the castees for this year’s Bust A Move, a fundraiser for women with breast cancer in our community on 10/4 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Tickets are available here: https://bustamove2013.eventbrite.com/

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