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Prostate cancer added to SSA's list of Compassionate Allowances

Cancer impacts individuals of every age, income and ethnicity. Early detection is critical to improving an individual's chances of survival and positive long-term prognosis. Upon learning an individual has cancer; he or she must often begin a medication regimen and undergo treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy which often takes a tremendous toll on an individual's physical and mental health.

Often, the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of cancer renders an individual unable to work. While many employers offer short-term disability to employees dealing with health issues, these benefits typically expire after a few months. Thankfully, individuals who have exhausted employer-provided disability benefits may then apply and qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits.

For individuals who apply for SSD benefits, it can take months to receive notice of whether those benefits will be awarded. For those dealing with medical conditions and illnesses that are severe in nature, time is of the essence and these individuals may qualify for participation in an expedited SSD determination process.

To help determine who qualifies for participation in the SSD expedited determination process, the Social Security Administration has devised a list of Compassionate Allowances. Most recently, the SSA added prostate cancer to its Compassionate Allowances program along with 11 other types of cancers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 233,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year. Of these, roughly 13 percent will die from the disease. For these men, SSD benefits provide much-needed monthly income which helps alleviate financial concerns thereby allowing sufferers to focus on treatment and getting well.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Prostate cancer added to disability benefits fast-track list," Cindy George, April 21, 2014National Cancer Institute, "Prostate Cancer," 2014

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