SSA for Lung Disease
The Social Security Administration offers programs for citizens with serious debilitating diseases. Social Security Supplemental Income and Disability Income are the two largest programs offered to the Social Security Administration that provide assistance to people with debilitating lung diseases. Both programs are offered to you even if you have not reached retirement age. These program can help you if you have black lung disease, chronic chest disease or lung cancer.
Social Security Supplemental Income, or SSI, is given out based on your financial need. This federal income supplemental program offers monthly cash assistance to eligible citizens. SSI is funded by general tax revenue and not by social security tax revenue. SSI helps aged, blind or disabled citizens with little or no income. If eligible you can receive cash to help pay for basic needs like clothing, food and shelter.
Social Security Disability, or SSD, pays you benefits if you are “insured”. To be “insured” you must have worked long a certain amount of time and paid Social Security taxes. If you meet the disability criteria you may be eligible for benefits after you have been disabled for five months. These benefits will continue until you return to work or your condition improves. SSD is only paid for total disabilities. The Social Security Administration assumes that working families have access to other resources to help during short term disabilities.
Definition of Disability
The Social Security Administration has a strict definition of disability. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a three in 10 chance of becoming disabled. According to the Social Security Administration, you are disabled if your lung disease prevents you from working. Your lung disease must prevent you from doing the work you did before and prevent you from adjusting to other types of work. Your lung disease must have lasted or be expected to last for one year or be expected to result in death.
Social Security Compassionate Allowances provide a way to quickly identify diseases that are likely to qualify you for benefits. These conditions are found on the Listing of Impairments. These conditions are chosen based on minimal objective medical information. This list includes conditions that are often serious, life threatening or incurable.
The goal of Compassionate Allowance is to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals. Small cell lung cancer is included in Compassionate Allowances. Non-small cell lung cancer with metastasis or is inoperable, unrescetable or a recurrent is also included. Compassionate Allowance helps to speed up the application process for those with serious conditions.
If you are approved for benefits under SSI or SSD, your benefits will convert to retirement benefits when you reach 65 years of age. The amount you receive will not decrease but the criteria to be disabled will no longer be in effect. In order to receive benefits you will need to apply. You can make an appointment to complete an application. This appointment can be face to face with a caseworker or via the phone. To make an appointment you should call your local social security office.