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Which diseases qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

Published on August 17th, 2012

People often wonder, “If I have such-and-such disease, will I qualify for Social Security disability benefits?” Usually the answer is, “It depends.”

The Social Security Administration does have a compassionate allowances list, which identifies medical conditions that invariably qualify under the “listing of impairments” for benefits. The program was created so that people who are very sick can see their application process expedited.

There is a wide variety of diseases on the compassionate allowances list, including liver cancer, Perry Syndrome and juvenile onset Huntington Disease, just to name a few. The SSA continues to add to the list, and several were added that were effective as of last week.

Even with the existence of the list, though, how badly someone is affected by a disease will determine whether they are eligible for benefits. For example, cancer is a very broad term. People who are extremely ill with pancreatic cancer, for example, could qualify to receive benefits. But someone with a very mild form of cancer that can be treated quickly with no last effects might not.

According to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, the question in each individual case comes down to, “How sick is this particular individual, and how long are they going to remain sick?”

To sum it up, just because a person has a particular disease doesn’t necessarily mean they would qualify to receive benefits. It all depends on how ill they are, how the disease affects them and for how long.

Source: NOSSCR, “How does Social Security determine if I am disabled?” Aug. 2012

•· Our firm handles similar situations to what was discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Chicago Social Security disability page.

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