Advanced Prostate Cancer
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Was Receiving Social Security retirement benefit when diagnosed with cancer. Should I now apply for Social Security disability?

I started receiving my Social Security retirement benefit at age 62. At age 63 and a half I was diagnosed with stage-4 prostate cancer. Do I now apply for SS Disability? Is there an advantage to applying for SS Disability after I've already started receiving my early SS retirement benefit?

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My initial response was to think, "No".

After reading some subsequent information below from people who know much more about the arcane details, I'd now say run it by your local Social Security office, file, and see if it will be determined to pay you more.

Charles

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I took my early social security at 62 and was diagnosed at 64, and I can tell you no, you could not. You can certainly try, but it would take at least two years to hear your case once you inquired or applied.

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My wife and I both worked for SSA for 30+ years.

How old are you now? 63 1/2? For most of us, full SSA retirement age is not until age 66, which opens up the strong possibility that you could be entitled to a higher benefit under SSA Disability than you currently receive under SSA Retirement.

On what date were you diagnosed Stage 4? Is your Stage 4 diagnosis date the same as the date you were diagnosed with PCa (at any stage)?

Without knowing more details of your situation, and you are now 63 1/2 , we think you should definitely file for SSA disability. You have nothing to lose, and potentially a lot to gain by doing so.

Again, It is highly likely that you would be due a higher monthly benefit under SSA Disability v.s. SSA Retirement, even if your disability benefit may reduced due to the number of months you have already received SSA Retirement benefits. [Google POMS RS 00615.410 Reduced DIB after RIB Entitlement (A then HA)].

The determination of whether your SSA DIB benefits will be reduced, and (if so) by how much, requires a special benefit computation by SSA. It is highly possible that your benefits may increase to a higher monthly amount.

Also, there is the possibility that you might qualify for Medicare. A & B prior to age 65 based on your disability.

Finally, filing now protects your DIB application date, potential retroactivity of your DIB benefits, and appeal rights under the SSA Disability program.

BTW...it is NOT true that it will take 2 years to process your disability claim!!

Each claim is unique, just like the level of disability is unique to each person. During our careers both my wife and I have seen countless disability cases processed in a matter of weeks or a few months.

Even many claims that go to the Hearing level of appeal are processed to completion within one year, and for those appeals that are reversed to an allowance, most go back to the original application date (sometimes up to 12 months earlier with retroactivity) based on the date SSA establishes that your impairment is severe enough to be considered disabling under their rules and regulations.

Contact SSA now. The date you contact them to set up an appointment to file is crucial to determining your Disability entitlement date, Medicare eligibility date, and disability benefit amount. SSA cannot refuse your right to file.

If you don’t file, you will get nothing.

Mark

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Nice response Mark. The answer is always no unless you ask. I went on disability at 57 dues to my prostate cancer. I went through an advocate (paid) but it was done and awarded in just a couple/3 months. After being on disability for 15 (I think 15) months I then became eligible for Medicare A and B. Which was a blessing as my COBRA ran out the day before my Medicare kicked in! Awesome, and very lucky, timing.

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I don’t want to confuse this subject so wanted to ask you directly. My husband took social security at 62 and was diagnosed last August of stage 4 prostate cancer. I assume you were referring to younger people to refile for disability? Not someone my husbands age, currently just turned 69. Thank you in advance.

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That’s correct. It applies only to people still under their full retirement age. unfortunately, if your husband is 69, he is well beyond his full retirement age, and if he was not diagnosed until age 68, there is no advantage in his filing for SSA Disability. Sorry I can’t give you better news! Best wishes to you and you husband!!

Mark

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Thank you!

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Thank you Litlerny for your reply.

I will turn 65 the last quarter of 2018. My initial diagnosis, May 2017, was stage 4 prostate cancer. My full retirement is age 66.

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Hi Pop,

I would file ASAP. They can go back retroactively up to 12 months from your filing date to pay benefits (after a 5 month waiting period). In your case, if you file in June, 2018, and they establish your disability as of May, 2017 when you got your Stage 4 Dx, you could potentially get SSA disability benefits for October, 2017 ff. This means they might already owe you past due benefits. It won’t help your Medicare retirement date any, but you are close to getting Medicare based on age 65 attainment anyway. Hope this helps! 😎

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I would say YES, or at least go to the social security office if you have one locally. Or try the application online. If you are stage 4, you qualify for SSID, if you are mCRPC, you qualify for the compassionate allowance which processes your application in 30 days, mine was completed in 15 days. What you will receive is the difference between early retirement at age 62 and regular age retirement of 65ish or whatever year/month it is for you today. So, that could mean $2-300 a month more easily. You may Even qualify for back pay all the way back to your diagnosis date or at least 6 months worth. It’s only money, might mean a few grand a year, its worth asking at least!

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SS told me that under the "compassionate allowance" I file for disability. My social security disability was approved under that in about 3 months. I was stage 3 normally it's stage 4 of cancers that get you almost immediate approval. Since my stage 3 I had RP and radiation with no stopping of the PSA I was granted disability. Getting Medicare is another thing there is a five month waiting period after your diagnosis then, another 2 years beyond that. I was diagnosed in March of 2016 surgery in June of 16 and then radiation and October of 16. My medicare scheduled to kick in December of 18. That's about 5 months before my 65th birthday. I can tell you that I needed no Advocate and that my Social Security folks were wonderful! They actually called me back a number of times to ask for papers. When my oncologist finally signed the final paper the next day it was approved. I couldn't have been more pleased with Social Security when you read about all the headaches of others. My social security disability was based on the dollar number as if I retired at my 66.

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I believe being castrate resistant, meaning rising psa on initial lupron is what would qualify you. I do not know your details, I think Mark (litlerny) has the best answer as he worked for SS. It is worth a call to SS IMO. Good Luck with everything.

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I probably shouldn't have said no, that you would not receive disability. I went with my experience. I lost my last job after 15 years. I worked in civilian management with Department of Defense. I had 5 years to go to collect my retirement as well as continuing with my health insurance. To make a long story short, I lost both. I then went with early social security while looking for part time employment and no health insurance. Then at 64, got the bad news that I had stage 4 prostate cancer. I was paying for treatment out of pocket until I qualified for State of California MediCal. As everyone knows, treatment is hugely expensive. Now with both MediCal as well as Medicare my treatment is thoroughly paid for. When I did inquire about receiving disability, it would have brought me into a higher income bracket and could have changed my health insurance situation. I didn't want to rock the boat for a few hundred more dollars a month. And I was told it could roughly take up to two years to receive a judgement after applying. Either California is different, or I was given the wrong information. But yes, I would inquire and hope for the best.

Ralph

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Hello All you fellow sufferers of this terrible desease. My only response to the social security problem you have there is DO NOT come to Australia, i am 69 & can not have age pension unless i apply online, only 6 modules they call them,20 min each it is supposed to take so i live on savings.

I can not work as there is none for an old man with brain fog from taking cosudex every day.

The little Auzie winger

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Thank you All, for your comments. I am new to this forum. I wish I had found it a year ago, as I had to go through the initial shock of my diagnosis by my self. I don't have to tell any of you how scary the unknown can be. Thanks so much for your advice.

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