Disability Benefits with Mesothelioma Cancer

By - on May 20, 2020

Last Updated: May 27th, 2020

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The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) to some Americans who are disabled. The program may offer disability benefits to you if you have mesothelioma cancer. You could be eligible for compensation if you are under 65 and cannot work because of your mesothelioma. (Asbestos.com)

It is important to try to qualify for any federal or state benefits that you can if you have a mesothelioma diagnosis. Consider:

  • Chemotherapy can cost up to $30,000 for an eight-week program, or up to $7,000 for the first treatment.
  • The typical cost of many mesothelioma surgeries is $40,000 or more.
  • The lifetime treatment process for a mesothelioma patient can be up to $250,000. If you do not have health insurance, you can expect to pay a lot out of pocket.

Disability Benefits Overview for Mesothelioma

SSDI insurance is a way to access retirement benefits before you actually retire. The program is a key financial resource for mesothelioma patients who have not reached the age of 65 and must stop working because of their mesothelioma treatments.

If you get Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, you also are eligible for Medicare coverage. If you need to stop working because of your asbestos cancer, it is usually better to apply for SSDI benefits instead of applying to get your retirement benefits early.

If you apply for your retirement benefits early, the Social Security Administration will permanently reduce the amount of your fixed monthly income. But if you are approved for SSDI, your fixed monthly income will be calculated at the full amount.

Social Security Disability Insurance Eligibility

To qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are not yet 65.
  • You have worked enough to receive Social Security retirement benefits.
  • You had to stop working because of your mesothelioma treatments.
  • You have medical proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis.

How Much Can You Get in SSDI for Mesothelioma?

Your monthly income for SSDI is calculated just like standard retirement benefits. What you receive depends on your average lifetime earnings that were taxed by Social Security. The more you paid in taxes, the larger your checks will be.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

The most effective way to apply for SSDI is through the Social Security Administration directly. There is an online tool available and a telephone number you can use for assistance. A mesothelioma attorney also can help you file for SSDI and review any other potential sources of compensation for your cancer, such as a personal injury lawsuit or asbestos trust.

The my Social Security Retirement Calculator (click here to visit SSA.gov) gives you the ability to plan for your future and compare your individualized retirement benefit estimates at age 62, Full Retirement Age (FRA), and age 70 with various scenarios that you select:

  • Choose a future age to begin receiving retirement benefits in years and months (Example: age 64 and 4 months)
  • Choose a future date to begin receiving retirement benefits (Example: June 2025)
  • Enter the average annual income you expect to earn until retirement

SSDI Compassionate Allowance for Mesothelioma

There usually is a five-month waiting period to receive disability benefits. But in the case of serious health problems such as mesothelioma, the Social Security Administration makes exceptions. Mesothelioma patients qualify for a compassionate allowance automatically. (SSA.gov)

The key to getting your compassionate allowance is to be sure your SSDI application has all of the required medical documentation. The best thing to include with your application is a pathology report that has found mesothelioma cancer cells in a biopsy. Other options are hospital records, doctor’s records, or other documentation from a medical professional that summarizes your diagnosis.

To qualify, your cancer needs to be found in the pleura or pleural cavity around your lungs, either as the original site of the tumors or as metastatic cancer that spread. Or, primary or metastatic mesothelioma tumors must be anywhere in the body and are not controlled through cancer treatments or your doctor’s therapies.

If your application documents are in order, you may begin to receive your benefit checks within 30 days of filing. In other cases, SSA may order you to be medically evaluated. Or, you and your attorney may need to file an appeal.

Supplemental Security Income for Mesothelioma

Supplemental Security benefits can provide additional financial help to mesothelioma victims who did not earn enough work credits to receive SSDI or retirement benefits. Eligibility requirements for Supplemental Security Income are the same as for SSDI.

Supplemental Security Income is managed by the SSA. But it does not receive its funds from Social Security taxes. This is a welfare program for people with disabilities who have little assets and income. (SSA.gov)

A mesothelioma patient who meets the income requirements for this welfare program may be eligible for Medicaid and food stamp benefits. These benefits vary by state and income level.

When You Should Apply for Supplemental Security Income?

It is recommended to apply when you have few assets and little income. Also, you have not worked enough to have sufficient work credits to receive SS retirement benefits. Last, you can provide medical proof of your mesothelioma diagnosis.

How Much Is Supplemental Security Income If You Have Mesothelioma?

As of 2019, a person living on their own can receive up to $770 per month in SSI. The maximum monthly benefit for a couple is $1,157. You will receive less if you live in someone else’s care. (SSA.gov)

Many states offer other programs to supplement these federal programs. Even if you receive Supplemental Security Income, you still will face serious financial challenges with a mesothelioma diagnosis. In many situations, other sources of compensation can provide more support for your illness, such as a lawsuit or an asbestos trust fund.

Disability Benefits Summary

Social Security Disability Insurance is a good option for many people who are under 65 and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. While you can apply for benefits on your own, it is a good idea to have your case reviewed by an experienced mesothelioma attorney.

Your attorney may be able to recommend other ways to get you compensation for your illness. If you were exposed to asbestos at work, your attorney may determine which company exposed you and when.

If the source of your asbestos contamination can be found, you could be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent company. Or, you can apply for compensation through one of the dozens of asbestos trust funds that have been established by former asbestos product manufacturers.