Social Security Supports People Battling Cancer

June 4, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: June 4, 2018

woman hugging younger girlIn 2018, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects people and families everywhere. On June 3, 2018, we observed National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease.

Social Security supports people who are fighting cancer. We offer support to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program. People with certain cancers may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance. Compassionate Allowances are cases where individuals have medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information.

There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowance condition, we’ll expedite your disability application.

Social Security establishes Compassionate Allowance conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. Visit our Compassionate Allowances website for more information, including the list of eligible conditions.

Some illnesses are more disabling than others and Social Security tries to treat everyone with equal compassion relative to their condition. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit our website to apply for benefits.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Breaking N.

    Saw some nice posts here they are really informative and are definitely great as these are quickly updated making us in-sync with the world.

  2. Diane A.

    I am confused by the various types of benefits. At age 59, I was diagnosed with stage 3 and a half breast cancer (spread thru lymph nodes). I applied for disability and was awarded RSDI. My benefits are paid on the 3rd Wednesday of each month. I will forever have to pay late fees and never have enough because of getting my benefits so late in the month. It is common for most bills, especially rent to be due on the 1st of the month. I know several people who get disability benefits who have never worked a day in their lives, several whose “disability” is alcoholism. Guess when they get their benefits – on the 1st of 3rd of the month. In addition, they got back pay from the date of application to the date benefits began. My award letter expressly noted that I would not be awarded back pay. When I reach age 65 next year, will my benefits change from disability to retirement? And will my benefits date change from the 3rd Wednesday to the 1st or 3rd of the month? I’m so confused.

    • K. S.

      What happens to a person who is on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they reach their retirement age? Does their SSDI just continue?

      • Ray F.

        Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age.
        Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same. Thanks!

  3. julie

    hey very nice article posted by you. your article is too informative. Social Security supports people who are fighting cancer People with certain cancers may be eligible for a Compassionate Allowance. i got many new things from your article. i conceive you have mentioned some interesting points. keep posting these type of articles. if you want more information about healthy foods and herbs natural remedies you can use this healthy food and herbs for more about natural healthy life. thanks you

  4. Patsy B.

    My 85 year old mother died June 25,, 2018. How long do I have to stop her checks? She had some automatic withdrawals coming out of her check by the bank for bills she had setup for several years ago.
    What do I need to have to stop her checks.

    • Ray F.

      We are sorry for your loss, Patsy. You must notify Social Security as soon as possible when someone getting benefits dies. Also, if you notify the bank, they will return payments to Social Security.
      In most cases, the funeral director will report the person’s death to Social Security. You can provide the funeral director with your mother’s Social Security number so he or she can report the death.
      See How Social Security Can Help You When A Family Member Dies for more information.
      If you need further assistance, please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks.

      • Alina

        I am fighting cancer right now. I am not on chemo anymore I am on a probiotics every other week. i am talking proper medicine ad follow all instrustion

  5. Carolyn B.

    My name was Carolyn Bland, at the time, I received my disability. I was married in 2012 so my name is now Carolyn Bland-McDonald. At that time I was receiving Medicare (Disability) and Medicaid starting in December 2004.
    When I turned 65, however, my disability was dropped and I was just Medicare. Also, my Medicaid was dropped. However, my disability did not just go away because I turned 65 so why was my disability and Medicaid dropped.
    I have tried to have Medicaid reinstated, but because I got married I am told that I am no longer eligible. Both my husband and I live strictly on Social Security and it is barely enough to get by.
    On May 3, 2017, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. So I now have the original disability, Severe Chronic Depression, plus PD along with it’s many symptoms and medicine side effects.
    One of the symptoms of PD is depression which is just added to my Severe Depression that I already have. This is just one, of the many, of the major symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
    All of this is said to let you know how wrong it is to have dropped my disability and now, when I still really need it. My medication just keeps increasing and I can not get the newer and better medicines, for my depression, because it is to expensive for me. Therefore, I am forced to stay on the older antidepressants which don’t really help me all that much.
    Can I be helped, in some way, by Social Security. I have never reported my Parkinson’s Disease and have not tried for Disability again. Could that be a possibility?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Carolyn, if a person has reached his or her full retirement age and is receiving Social Security retirement, they will not be eligible for disability benefits. Please go to http://www.Medicare.gov to get information on how you may get help paying Medicare services. Thanks!

  6. Jerald W.

    Social Security is system originally set up to aide life long wage earners with their retirement by providing monetary benefits. This original benefit has been bastardized by politicians to buy votes from weak minded retirees by adding disability, medical benefits, and other superfluous bribes that should be covered by Medicare and other private insurance. That is why SS is now bankrupt, just like the US Federal government. Good job politicians!

  7. S H.

    Except that if someone’s awarded SSDI benefits rapidly through being determined to have a compassionate allowance condition, that person STILL ISN’T entitled to Medicare coverage. The rule is: you have to be entitld to receive SSDI benefits for 24 months to become entitled to Medicare coverage. There’s a 5 month waiting period after a person is found disabled, so no cash benefits for the first 5 months after the date of onset of disability. So that means someone WITH cancer will be without Medicare coverage despite being disabled for 29 months.

    Only exception to that rule that I’m aware of is renal failure, Medicare coverage starts immediately once someone meets with that criteria.

    People disabled by a “compassionate condition” should be entitled to Medicare coverage as of the date they’re determined to meet the criteria for one of those 200 compassionate allowance conditions.

  8. All A.

    Great responsibility are doing by Social Security. Also hope that disability people will be much more beneficial on Healthy Food Choices.

  9. Anthony L.

    In response to an email I received from social security
    “Soc Sec supports cancer victims ” I would like to speak with someone about what befits are available .
    I am currently 69 years old and receive retirement benefits. I was diagnosed with stage III non small cell cancer last Dec 2017. I have been under the care of Dr Shah at Morristown Memorial Hospital in NJ receiving Radiation, Chemo and now Immune Therapy. Am I qualified for any additional benefits from SS

    • Anthony L.

      I can be reached at 201-874-7719
      thank you

  10. Robert A.

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