The United States Congress has designated January 2021 as Cervical Health Awareness Month, part of an effort to educate Americans — especially women — about the risks of cervical cancer and the importance of early screening and treatment. We’d like to take this time to discuss the Social Security disability benefits available to women who are unable to work because of the debilitating symptoms of their cervical cancer.
Some Facts About Cervical Cancer
Each year, over 13,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S.; a little over 4,000 will die as a result of the disease.
Cervical cancer develops when abnormal cells begin dividing out of control in the uterine cervix. The main cause of cervical cancer is a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is most commonly transmitted through sexual contact, although it can also be contracted through non-sexual skin-to-skin contact. Other factors that put women at risk for developing cervical cancer include smoking, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted infection, multiple births, oral contraceptives, obesity, and a family history of cervical cancer.
In its earliest stages, cervical cancer does not cause any signs or symptoms. Women with cervical cancer often do not experience symptoms until the disease has progressed to its later stages, when cancer has spread into the surrounding tissues and organs, in a process known as metastasis.
Fortunately, there is a vaccine available that protects against HPV infection, reducing the risk of cervical cancer. Pap smears and other screening tests are effective in detecting abnormal precancerous cells. A biopsy may also be needed to confirm a diagnosis of cervical cancer.
Treatments can include removing the abnormal cells using lasers, cryotherapy, or topical medications, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and surgery. Like all cancers, early diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer is key to controlling the advancement of the disease.
Social Security Disability Benefits for Cervical Cancer
Women who are unable to work due to the symptoms of their cervical cancer may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. However, to be approved for benefits they will have to submit evidence that fully supports their claim of disability due to cervical cancer.
The Social Security Administration lists cervical cancer in their “Bluebook” of recognized disabilities under chapter 13 (Cancer), Section 23, “Cancers of the female genital tract – carcinoma or sarcoma”.
Some of the factors the SSA considers when evaluating a claim for disability benefits for cervical cancer include:
- Origin of the cancer.
- The extent of involvement.
- Duration, frequency, and response to anticancer therapy.
- Effects of any post-therapeutic residuals.
Some of the evidence the SSA will need to make their decision includes:
- Medical evidence that specifies the type, extent, and site of the primary, recurrent, or metastatic lesion. If the primary site cannot be identified, the SSA will use evidence documenting the site(s) of metastasis to evaluate the impairment.
- For operative procedures, including a biopsy or a needle aspiration, the SSA will generally require a copy of both the:
- Operative note, and
- Pathology report.
- If these documents are not available, the SSA will accept the summary of hospitalization(s) or other medical reports. This evidence should include details of the findings at surgery and, whenever appropriate, the pathological findings.
- In some cases, the SSA may also need evidence about recurrence, persistence, or progression of the cancer, the response to therapy, and any significant residuals.
Failing to provide the SSA with the necessary evidence will probably result in your claim being denied.
If Your Claim for Social Security Disability Benefits for Cervical Cancer Has Been Denied, We Can Help
Most claims for Social Security disability benefits are rejected the first time around. This isn’t because the applicant doesn’t deserve or qualify for disability benefits, but simply because they failed to submit the documents the SSA required to decide their case.
Houston Social Security disability attorney M. Stanley Whitehead helps women all over the U.S. who have had their claims for disability benefits for cervical cancer denied by the Social Security Administration. He can put together an appeals package that includes all the information needed to support your claim for Social Security disability benefits, and, if necessary, argue your case before an Administrative Judges at an Administrative Hearing.
Contact the law offices of M. Stanley Whitehead today to discuss your claim for Social Security cervical cancer disability benefits. Depending on the circumstances in your case, we may be able to represent your claim on a contingency basis, which means there are no up-front costs for you and we only collect a fee after you’ve been awarded your benefits.