Inflammatory breast cancer patients are covered by Social Security benefits to help manage the financial strain of disease-related expenses. If you have been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, you are also qualified to receive a Compassionate Allowance.

Compassionate Allowance and Social Security Benefits

Compassionate Allowance simply means that if you have an inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis, you’ll get expedited access to SSI and SSDI benefits. It speeds up the process of applying, evaluating, and receiving aid, which can be a lengthy process. This applies to applicants with such acute symptoms that their condition easily meets Social Security’s definition of disability.

What are SSI and SSDI?

SSI and SSDI both are Social Security programs giving cash payments to help cover costs for patients qualifying as disabled.

SSI is a program for those with low-income, unable to provide for themselves. If you earn a decent income, you may not qualify for SSI.

SSDI is an entitlement for anyone disabled regardless of income. It is available to those who have worked and paid into Social Security for 10 years or more.

How to Qualify for Benefits with Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Social Security needs medical evidence specifying the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. For operative procedures, including a biopsy or a needle aspiration, copies are needed of both the operative note and the pathology report. Without these documents, a summary of hospitalizations or other medical reports will be accepted. Anyone applying for these benefits must fall under one of these conditions:

  • Locally advanced cancer
  • Carcinoma with metastases to the clavicular nodes
  • Recurrent carcinoma
  • Small-cell carcinoma.
  • Secondary lymphedema caused by anticancer therapy, and treated by surgery to salvage or restore the functioning of an upper extremity.

More information can be found on the website Disability Evaluation under Social Security, Section 13.10 in the Blue Book.

How to Apply

To apply, there are 3 options. You may apply online, over the phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. For all of these methods, you are required to provide information such as:

  • Date of birth, birthplace, and Social Security number, and similar information about your spouse and children
  • Your routing number and account number, to have benefits electronically deposited
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers and dates of treatment
  • List of medications
  • Names and dates of medical tests

The list of information needed to apply can be found on the SSA’s website. In addition, you can also apply for benefits online there as well. At the bottom of the page you’ll find the option to start an application, which can be saved as you go.

To apply over the phone, have all your information ready and call 1-800-772-1213 between the hours of 7am and 7pm, M-F. You can also apply at your local SSA office.

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