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Article contributed by: Tai Prohaska, MPH, Manager of Strategic Alliances at Allsup

Whether you have been newly diagnosed with cancer, in treatment, or in remission, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may be an important part of your care plan, providing a monthly income, health insurance and return-to-work supports.

Most people don’t know much about SSDI until they have to stop working because of an illness or injury. Then, one of their first questions is, “Am I eligible?” You may qualify for SSDI benefits if you:

  • Are unable to work for at least 12 months or more, or have a terminal condition

  • Have paid FICA taxes for at least five of the last 10 years

  • Are over 21 and under full retirement age (65-67)

The “SSDI 101” crash course continues with the following hard fact―it’s not easy to obtain benefits. Two-thirds of people who apply for disability are initially denied and must go through an appeals process that can take years. It’s best to get expert help when you first apply to increase your chances of being approved at the initial level and avoiding the appeals process altogether.

Why you want SSDI:

  • The average monthly cash benefit for SSDI recipients is $1,197. It is $2,051 for individuals with dependents.

  • You are eligible for Medicare 24 months after your SSDI benefits begin. See “Health Insurance When Disability Strikes” for more information.

  • There are incentives, support and resources to help you return to work while also protecting your cash and health insurance benefits.

Cancer is one of the top five categories of conditions that qualify someone for disability insurance benefits, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). In addition to cancer’s potentially disabling symptoms, individuals can become disabled because of treatment, which can include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

The free online screening tool, empower by Allsup®, incorporates SSDI and return-to-work information to help individuals obtain their benefits and lay the groundwork for a successful return to work if they are medically able.

Returning to work after cancer treatment contributes to greater financial stability and can even improve recovery. Learning about programs such Ticket to Work early on, can prepare individuals for a successful transition back to work without the fear and stress of losing their cash benefits and Medicare coverage.

Wherever you are on your cancer journey, make sure you access all of the benefits and resources available to you.


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