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Community Shares Experiences: Metastatic Breast Cancer & Disability Assistance

Metastatic breast cancer is a physical disability, one that is recognized by the Social Security Administration. In other words, it is a condition that qualifies for financial benefits from the U.S. government.

To hear more about your experiences with applying for and receiving social security, we reached out on the AdvancedBreastCancer.net Facebook page, and we asked: “Has anyone applied for disability & got approved for having a metastatic diagnosis?”

More than 60 people commented, sharing their stories. Here is what they had to say.

“Yes, and I got approved in 2 weeks.”

For those of you who have stage IV breast cancer, approval is typically automatic. Once the Social Security Administration receives the required paperwork from your doctor, it takes approximately two weeks to be approved. However, approval does not mean immediate payments.

“Yes, MBC is considered Compassionate Allowance, and approval is known within 10-14 days per SSDI application.”

“Yes, and I got approved in 2 weeks.”

“Yes. I had to wait 6 months from my last day of work to receive benefits.”

Those of you who were approved have had to wait 6 months to start receiving money. Note that the clock for the 6 months of non-work starts whenever you stop working—and not when the SSA receives your application. What is typical, however, is for someone to submit the application and then stop working.

“Yes. A stage IV metastatic diagnosis should get you approved without issue. I do have to wait the standard 6 months though, which is hogwash.”

“Yes. I had to wait 6 months from my last day of work to receive benefits.”

“But benefits do not start for 6 months after the person stopped working. This is the protocol for all disabled people. You cannot claim you are permanently disabled and continue working full time until you get your first benefits check. You are not considered disabled if you can work full-time. Some people do not understand the waiting period. Some people say they got their check a couple of months later, after applying, but they were out of work for months before they applied. For instance, if you stop work in October because you are undergoing treatment but do not receive your stage IV diagnosis until March, you do not have to wait until September for benefits to start.”

“I still had to wait 6 months, which in my mind was a cruel joke.”

“I got my first check in 3 months.”

Some of you received your payments sooner—whether that was because you stopped working before you sent your application, or, in some cases, because your diagnosis was terminal and thus your benefits were rushed.

“Yes, I was approved right away. I got my first check in 3 months.”

“Yes, I did. It was expedited because I am considered terminal.”

“A lawyer is not really needed.”

The majority of you agreed that a lawyer is not necessary to apply for disability benefits in the case of metastatic breast cancer. Most of you did some research online and learned the basics of the approval process, and took the necessary steps. The process is fairly straight-forward, so if you do have trouble, ask a friend or family member to help you understand the process before turning to a lawyer for help that is expensive.

“I agree that a lawyer is not really needed.”

“I did not have a lawyer. I just made an appointment and took all my paperwork and a list of all my doctors.”

“Hiring a lawyer is just handing your money to someone to do a simple task. I applied online, and then visited a Social Security office for about 10 minutes.”

We want to say thank you to everyone who shared what the process was like for you. We are grateful that this community is able to offer connection and education thanks to our members who share so generously.

Comment below and share your experience or any tips that were helpful for you during the process.

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