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    ... But Are You Legally Disabled?

    Legal Disability
    You and your employer both agree that your disease interferes with your ability to do your work.

    You may even find it hard to function in areas of your life that are not work related.

    ...But are you legally disabled?

    You might be surprised by how many people who apply for disability benefits in the United States find out that their disability does not qualify for SSI.

    Breast cancer may not be disabling
    Many survivors continue to work and lead relatively normal lives during treatments. However, there are survivors whose breast cancer has reached a stage where the treatments, side effects, or the metastases do interfere with normal functioning.

    At that point, many survivors apply to the Social Security Administration for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You should apply as soon as you and your doctor agree that you are disabled.

    What is SSI
    The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides income for needy people who are

    • age 65 or older,
    • blind,
    • or disabled.

    Your income and resources, such as savings, home equity and any other sources of income are considered when deciding eligibility for SSI. You will only be eligible for SSI payments if your income and resources are below the set levels.

    If you do not qualify for SSI payments because of income or resources, there is no reason to evaluate the extent of your disability, you are simply not eligible.

    If your income and resources do fit into the criteria, you still have to be evaluated to make sure that you meet the definition of disabled according to the law.

    Social Security law defines a disability very precisely. To be eligible for benefits, a person must be unable to do any "substantial gainful work" because of a medical condition. The condition must be reasonably expected to either last for at least 12 months or to end in death.

    While SSA does consider breast cancer, your situation does not necessarily qualify as a disability under this definition.

    How does the Social Security Administration determine if you qualify...

    September 23 , 2000

    Last updated May 1, 2006




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