Childhood Cancer is a condition that is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a condition that qualifies for disability benefits. However, in order for your child to qualify for disability benefits strict financial and medical criteria will have to be met.
Qualifying for SSI Benefits
Children with cancer receive disability benefits through the SSA’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which is a need-based benefit which requires applicants have minimal financial resources available to pay everyday expenses.
For a child to qualify for SSI, he or she must not have more than $2,000 available each month from all countable sources. The SSA looks at the child’s financial situation as well as the income and financial resources or assets of the parents or guardians. In total, all countable sources must not exceed the monthly maximum in order for a child to qualify for benefits, but only a portion of the parents’ or guardians’ finances are “deemed” to the child.
You can obtain more information on the SSI program here: http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/ssi.htm
Medically Qualifying for Benefits
To determine if your child’s cancer qualifies for benefits, the SSA needs to see specific medical evidence, which includes:
The SSA evaluates cancer based on where it originates, even if it affects multiple body systems, and the manual of impairments, or Blue Book as it is known, contains listings for cancers of various origins. You will find these listings in Section 113.00 (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/113.00-NeoplasticDiseases-Malignant-Childhood.htm) and will want to review the specific requirements for the form of cancer from which your child suffers.
It is important to understand that some types of rare cancer and untreatable or advanced forms of the disease also qualify for expedited review and approval under the SSA’s regulations. This is due to the Compassionate Allowances (CAL), which minimizes the evidence required for proving disability and ensures you have a decision on your child’s eligibility in just a few weeks.
Several forms of childhood cancer qualify for CAL review processes, including:
You can find a full list of the SSA’s CAL conditions here: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/compassionate-allowances
It is essential to understand that while the CAL program minimizes the evidence necessary for approval, you must still complete the full application process and provide the appropriate medical evidence to support your claim.
Submitting an Application
When you apply for benefits for children with cancer, you must do so in person at your local SSA office. An appointment is required and you can schedule that appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213.
Before the appointment date, you will want to collect as many of your child’s medical, school, and financial records as possible. Even if by the time the appointment date arrives you do not have all the records collected, keep the appointment regardless. You can still get the ball rolling on your child’s claim for benefits and the SSA can assist in getting any missing records.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
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