Lung Cancer: Social Security Disability
Disability Benefits Can Help Those Battling Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer in the United States. It is a fast-growing cancer that is hard to diagnose and often detected too late. Most people diagnosed in the advanced stages of lung cancer die within a year. It is estimated that 165,000 people die of lung cancer annually.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has identified lung cancer as a qualifying disabling medical condition for Social Security Insurance benefits in the category for malignant neo-plastic diseases. SSA fast-tracks disability benefits through its Compassionate Allowance initiative for people in the advanced stages of lung cancer when the survival rate is very low. Benefits include monthly cash support for the claimant that continues for the claimant’s family after death. The claimant is also eligible for Medicare health insurance benefits but only after a 24-month waiting period. Freedom Disability supports legislation to eliminate this unfair waiting period so that Medicare benefits can be accessed immediately by the people who need health care insurance the most. Unfortunately, no action has yet been taken.
There are two main types of lung cancer that affects the tissues of the lung: small cell and non-small cell. Treatment methods differ between the two types.
Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is usually treated with surgery. About 87 percent of lung cancers are non-small cell cancers. It is a slow-spreading cancer with a five-year survival rate of 15 percent.
Small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) responds to chemotherapy or radiation. However, the survival rate is bleak for those diagnosed with extensive small cell lung carcinoma. The two-year survival rate is just two percent.
Smoking is considered the leading cause of lung cancer, but exposure to pollution, radiation and asbestos may also increase risk. In fact, 60 percent of lung cancer cases occur in non-smokers or people who quit smoking years ago. Common symptoms include, persistent cough, chest pain, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, wheezing or hoarseness, repeat episodes of pneumonia or bronchitis, swelling of the neck and face, weight loss, and fatigue.
Early detection can improve chances of survival. However, lung cancer is hard to diagnose and is often detected too late. Survival rates for stage one cancer patients can be as great as 92 percent, versus a dismal 15.5 percent survival rate among stage four patients. This rate hasn’t changed in 40 years.
- Over 450 people die in the U.S. per day of lung cancer
- Lung cancer accounts for 30 percent of all cancer deaths
- The majority of lung cancer patients are diagnosed too late and will die within one year
Helpful Resources for People with Lung Cancer
Freedom Disability helps people with respiratory disabilities such as Lung Cancer, apply for and win Social Security Disability benefits. We also provide information on additional resources to further help our claimants.
Read more about the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation to learn about the benefits they offer and how to get involved in the services they provide.
Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organization dedicated to “eradicating lung cancer with our patients, survivors, and their families through research, early detection, awareness, education, prevention, and treatment.” The Foundation has raised more than $4 million and hosts fund-raising public events throughout the year.Bonnie J. Addario is herself a lung cancer survivor and has made it her mission to internationally raise awareness about the importance of early detection. Fund-raising events help support research to end lung cancer.
Find out more about how to get involved at www.lungcancerfoundation.org.