Social Security Disability in the US

I'm wondering if anyone here who lives in the US has gotten approval for Social Security Disability.

From what I have read, it looks like you have to wait until your cancer isn't responding to any treatments, then another 3 months to have some provable progression to show them. Then after approval, you wait 2 years to receive benefits if you can survive that long. Maybe I'm wrong, but looks to me like most people in that situation wouldn't make it.

I guess if you can show them the side effects of treatment are preventing you from working, you could get approval that way.

Anyone have experience with this?

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49 Replies

  • Gregg, Stage 4 with metastatic disease to bone is an automatic, I did it over the phone with one call. It takes 6 months from the time you stop working to get a check, such as if you stopped working a year ago, they will give you a lump sum of 6 months check, 2 years from the date your first check month was you are enrolled in medicare, if you feel better you can have a 6 month trial go back to work while you still recieve benefits, and you are allowed to make 1,000 a month part time and stay on. I worked for 9 years with stage 4, then I got approved when it started to get away from me, and I had to be followed closer, It is just your own money, they just let you get it earlier as, you may not get it later. It is equal to what you would get on Social Security at age 65. In the link Bauxman posted a few days ago , it said Hormone refractory, or in the Bone, or in organs, so any one would qualify, and Hormone refractory refers to failing initial lupron, but if it is hormone sensative and in the bone , I believe you qualify, here is the link


  • Thanks for the reply Dan. When you applied, were you hormone sensitive still? The link refers to those with hormone refractory prostate cancer. From what I've read, if you have hormone sensitive cancer that's responding to treatment, they don't generally approve it. I hope that's wrong and if so I will apply. Between initial disease, diagnostic tests, chemo treatments, etc. I've been able to do very little work this year. I'm self-employed.

    I appreciate your help on this matter. May private message you on this if that's O.K.

  • Gregg, It says HR, or in bones, or visceral, which means spread to organs, if you have or had a positive bone scan it is my understanding you qualify, I would call ss admin.

    You can Pm me at any time, I will give you my phone number and you can call me if that is easier


  • Sent a PM with numbersd. Social Security Administration is 1-800-772-1213 , and I beleive that is the number I used, and they redirect you from there.


  • Thanks for the help.

  • It says further in the link that to meet the listing, bone only is excluded. Let us know how it goes.

  • No mine is bone only and I was approved first time I went

  • You can always apply for SSDI. However, they may not always approve it. SSDI has what they call compassionate care where they fast track the approval process. Listed below is a reference:

    Here is the most important paragraph

    “Listing-level criteria requires Prostate Cancer to be either: metastatic (Stage IV) to lung, liver, or other internal visceral organ (excluding bone metastases); or progressive or recurrent despite initial hormonal therapy. Prostate Cancer with visceral metastases meets listing 13.24B”

    Here is some additional links:



  • I think these are the qualifications for automatic compassionate approval. I think in the real world all you have to show is an inability to work , ie back pain, or side effects from treatments.

    Thank You for the great Links Walt.

  • You are correct. My focus was on the “fast track “. Since I am 4D1 (migration to the lymph nodes), I am not eligible for the compassionate care procedure outlined above. However, I could still apply using the normal procedure for SSDI. That is true for everyone here. Caregivers can apply for themselves if the stress with dealing with someone with cancer becomes to great that it effects their ability to work.

  • I got Social Security Disability in 2014. You need to be diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic prostate cancer. There was no wait I was immediately approved, they contacted my doctor to verify the diagnosis. Because I had not worked for a year, they backed payed me six months after I stopped working. With the disability status, you are paid as though you were applying at 66 years old. When I turned 66, they then shifted me over to the regular system but with the same amount of money.

    Good Luck


  • Thanks for the reply Dennis.

    Did you have anything other than the typical hormone-sensitive PC spread to bones or lymph nodes?

  • The cancer had spread to my bones.

  • Thanks, that's where I am at right now. Still hormone sensitive, but metastatic to the bones and a few nodes.

  • Mine was easy.. not diagnosed until I was 67. Now 6 months in and still don't know what's ahead.


  • That wasn’t my experience fortunately.. Once diagnosed with stage#4 metastatic APC which is considered a terminal condition with no known medical cure. It is automatic and very quickly available. That was my exprience 3yrs ago. I was and still am not able physically or mentally to work as I had prior to diagnosis. No one can denie the severity of APC and it’s treatments. Everyone seems to be hit on different levels of functionality . Thank god that we live in a country that at least can offer this type of help to those that need it the most. That’s why we worked and payed into disabilaty and S.S. Our entire professional lifes. I got taken down hard in the financial turn down .Then tremendous bills during the initial 2 yrs of treatments while trying to save my life. As you know, Everything having to do with “C” is expensive, even quality nutrients and clean foods. So for the first time in my life I’m on the dole ..I’ve paid some heavy taxes ,and now I m just happy to be alive.No income sucks. . I ve spent my life providing and taking care of those around me. Now unable to earn I feel fortunate to receive any help from anyone. It’s your right to receive it and you paid into this from the first job that you ever had. Good luck !

  • When it comes to the government, taxes, etc. so far it's been a one way street. For 60 years I've only put in and gotten nothing back. So for the first time in my life I am in need and will be getting something back, but it's my money anyway! So just guess how guilty that makes me feel.

  • Nothing new under the sun. Enjoy this fall weather!

  • You are not on the dole! You work hard your whole life and gave The government what they demanded. Now the government is just giving you back your dividends.

    You are correct on the cost. We are burning through our money way to fast. I fell bad that after I am gone my wife will have nothing but memories to live on. Memories are nice, but it does not put food on the table.

  • I'm also worried about how things will be for my wife after I'm gone. It's not even easy for healthy people to make a living today so trying to balance the money going out with money coming in is hard. Fortunately for me, I did well in my healthy years and have some savings and also low expenses now (other than medical).

    We really have to watch the money now. But then, my appreciation for life is so more much than before. I was once a slave to money and work. I'm happier now even though it's more of a challenge with the financial situation.

  • We are twins.

  • I don’t have that fear of not fitting through the eye of a needle ...So I got that going for me. Of course, I joke. I feel the same as you. About my wife and defendants. We can say “Eat! Drink! And be merry ! For tomorrow we all shall die.” That’s a warriors battle cry. I say it a little different. Eat well, drink lots of fresh water and god willing I’ll be around for awhile to enjoy the simple things in life. Like love and family. You are a champion for all on this cite. Thanks Dr!

  • We are all champions here! Do not get mad, but I think the one good thing about cancer is I can interact with real warriors like you!

  • Brothers in arms....

  • It was easy for me, but the amount was a disappointment. I would have done better if they thought I was nuts...which I could make a case for.

  • This shit may make me crazy yet.

  • You will be tested, but it's worth your time.

  • I qualify also then....

  • Going on Social Security Disability can have a negative effect on your eventual Social Security Retirement benefits. Meet with a representative at the Social Security Office to have them explain and then spread out for you the specific effect taking Disability might affect your retirement benefits to be sure that it is the best course of action for you.


  • Hi Gregg57,

    I was diagnosed in 2013, stage IV with metastasis in bones. By 2014 I had to sell off my business due to tha complications from the cancer.

    Got disability with one phone call and was “fast tracked “ with the discribed 6 month wait.

    I agree that concerns for my wife to not be destitute was the major concern for me but we have had life insurance from early on in our marriages I was lucky to have that somewhat covered.

    I know that others in our position can’t buy insurance but I preach to my kids and all other healthy friends that just like health insurance if you have a significant other you need to consider life insurance while you can buy it.

  • I also have a good life insurance policy for 5 more years to age 65 so I am somewhat covered. If I pass within 5 years, my wife will be in very good shape. If I pass after that, there will be 5 less years to worry about. We don't have any debt so that's a big plus.

  • Great, so keep up the good fight and enjoy each day you get.

  • I was diagnosed 2&1/2 years ago with aPC Gleason 10 metastasized to my bladder and lymph nodes. I am still working but am at the point where I will have to stop. I am trying to make it to spring when I will have my 30th anniversary with employer but don't know if I can keep working til then because of the aPC. I was thinking of applying for SS disability and stop working. I haven't had time yet to research if I will meet the disability qualifications yet. Does anyone think my case qualifies for disability? I have no bone mets yet. Just lots of tumors in the bladder.

  • Not knowing your case and where you are with disease progression it would be hard to make a guess. Do You feel you are unable to work? I suspect it would depend on if they consider the bladder a visceral organ, or if you are having progression on initial Lupron or zolodex. Here is the link. Please note this is the link for automatic compassionate approval, You may still get approved If you are unable to work after a meeting with the SSA.

  • I believe the bladder is considered an organ, but you would need to check to make sure.

  • Thank you

  • Definetly qualified.

  • Thankyou

  • for sure

  • I do...for sure

  • If it not bone or blood vessels then it is an organ. Your skin is an organ.

  • I kept working for the first 2 1/2 years after I went to stage four. I went out on disability from work and applied for SSDI. I was approved and in 6 months I received my first check. It does take two more years to get Medicare. Best to just apply. I went to my local office

  • 1. JoelT mentioned "Going on Social Security Disability can have a negative effect on your eventual Social Security Retirement benefits. Meet with a representative at the Social Security Office to have them explain and then spread out for you the specific effect taking Disability might affect your retirement benefits to be sure that it is the best course of action for you."

    That is real good advice.

    2. Also you may or may not fit into SSD fast track. If you do not fit into it, applying can get difficult and may take a number of attempts. If you run into problems you should not be reluctant to hire one of those Social Security Disability law firms you see advertised on television so often. Otherwise it is possible to take several years of trial and error applications until you get it.

    In fact no matter what decision you make you should probably call them up and just talk to them in order get better situational awareness.

  • Not sure how going on SSDI can have a negative effect on your eventualSS unless you were planning on making twice as much money for the next 5 years and raise your monthly allotment. The amount is equal to what you would get at 65 if you kept working , they take your best 10 years, and then when you reach 65 or 66depending on year of birth it turns into regular SS wit the same amount.

  • As soon as you reach (I think 63) you have to take a minimum possible monthly payment from regular social security as opposed to waiting to get a greater monthly payment at 66 or 70.

    The difference can be substantial.

    But it is best to make an appointment with the local social security office and let them give you the exact numbers.

  • From the link given it appears my SSDi will be converted to ss retirement benefits at my full retirement age of 66yrs and 4 mos. and the amount will not change. disability-benefits-help.or...

  • Thanks Dan. Sadly, my best 10 years are behind me. Pretty much the same as all the other years. Not making jack shit now.

    As far as I know, when I pass away, my wife will get 1/2 of my SS. Good chance that I won't ever get a penny in my life.

    The bigger issue for me is healthcare concerns. Without the premium assistance from the Affordable Care Act, the premiums for my wife and I would be around $1800 a month. We don't have that kind of money laying around and we would use up our savings if we had to go too many years on that. And even with the big premiums, we still have big co-pays for everything.

    If I can get on Medicare, at least one of has health care that's less endanger of being taken away. Medicare at 62 vs. 65 would eliminate 3 years. I can't believe I would be better off waiting.

    I also have the VA, but I just found out I lost my premium assistance because of it. So I have to either give up VA or give up my plan at Kaiser.

  • >As far as I know, when I pass away, my wife will get 1/2 of my SS ...

    Probably more, provided you/she qualify. See:

  • Hi Gregg,

    I only had to show an increase in PSA to prove recurrence. I received my first check shortly thereafter, and it was retroactive from when it began to go up. It was a nice amount.

    A side story here: My wife knows a lady, whose sister had severe heart disease, and she was refused SSD over and over again. A few weeks after she passed, she received a letter of approval.

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