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. Gina H.

    What is the average time to get approved once they tell you your application will be expedited?
    My niece was diagnosed with cancer in both kidneys but Dr wont start treatment until
    her ss disability is approved. This is heartbreaking and seems inhumane to me. She is extremely ill.

  2. Frances

    My daughter had aides. She could not draw very much. So what is the difference from people with cancer and her with aides. It is a serious disease also. She died. Now I know someone who has cancer. I see other people with cancer who still work. I am so proud of the ones who try. But I know someone who draws over 1500.00 a month over breast cancer. She could work but does not because she draws so much. She has said this. There are older senior citizens who do good to draw 500.00 and can not make it. They would love to work. My question is Why on this. You all need to look into claims alot more then you do.

  3. Anthony B.

    Do people with established pre existing ssa//ssdi able to get EXTRA help with cancer

  4. Cynthia S.

    I had a SSDI Hearing on the 21st of March. I was approved the day of my hearing, which I am told is a rare happening. How long should it take for me to receive a phone call, approval statement on mysocialsecurity.com, or a letter in the mail? Thank you sincerely for your time.

  5. Nancy L.

    My husband is a 37 years worked retired steelworker who was diagnosed with stage 4 non survivable breast cancer which metastasized to his brain. Someone told me about the “Moms meals” program and with his Dementia I was wondering if he would be eligible?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Nancy. We are very sorry to hear about your husband’s condition. Social Security does not administer this program. However, you may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps!

  6. Gwen W.

    I am currently on Social Security and might need cancer treatments. Am I covered and how much?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Gwen, thanks for using our blog. If you are currently on Medicare, you will need to check with them regarding what is and isn’t covered. You can get details at Medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY 1-877-486-2048).

  7. CR

    Are Social Security disability benefits awarded for your lifetime? I don’t understand why someone who is diagnosed as cured and given an “all clear” to return to work continues to collect benefits. Recently a friend who has been collecting and working received a letter from the SSA telling him he was eligible for Medicaid since he’s been disabled since 2013.

  8. Ronald I.

    There is many people who are disable for doing many thing toilet is one work. For that kind people some toilet seat are available . This toilet seat make their bathroom very easy specially for disable people.

  9. Cynthia P.

    How to apply for compassionate allowances so I dont loose my place to live our my car while I’m receiving cancer treatments?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Cynthia. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The CAL initiative helps us reduce waiting time to reach a disability determination for individuals with the most serious disabilities.
      Medical conditions that meet the criteria for Compassionate Allowances are expedited.
      Read more at “Compassionate Allowances“. Thanks!

  10. Bill

    if a claimant is found disabled under a compassionate allowance, do they still have to wait the 2 years after the onset date to be eligible for Medicare?

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