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4 time cancer survivor with questions

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2013

I was diagnosed with nhl in nov. 2003......specifically diffuse large b cell lymphoma. I went through a 10 month regimen of chemo and immunotherapy (rituxan). I was told that it was not curable but that remission was possible. The cancer has been in remission since late 2004. In 2006 i lost my left kidney to renal cell carcinoma and in 07 i lost 1/5 of my right kidney to the same cancer. Again i bounced back and feeling good. Then in june 2012 i had prostate cancer and had my prostate removed by the da vinci robotic method. Again i am feeling good and have always worked during and after these cancers. The drs cant say for sure if the cancers were the result of the chemo but my urologist says the chances are really good they were. Has anyone had similar circumstances and if so i would like to know their story. Also since i have been working regularly would i have any chance of receiving social security disability. I am  61 yr old(62 next month) man and i feel pretty good though ive had to give up basketball and softball because of having only 4/5 of a kidney left.......now i golf    LOL thanks for any info .......Bob

allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Bob,

  Welcome to the group. I have not had a recurrance with my cancer so I cannot share anything with you. But...recently we had a member..(Les) share some Social Security Disability info with another member that might help answer your question in regards to qualifying for SSD. Hope this information helps. Les might see your post and  help you out.

Best wishes...Sue

(Follicular NHL-stg3-grd2-typA-Dx 6/10-age 62) In remission


I have been reading this site for quite a while, but I'm usually too tired to get involved in the conversation.  I have a very rare, slow-moving lymphoma that (thankfully) has not caused me great suffering (most of the time!!) but generally leaves me fatigued. 

     Before becoming ill, I worked in a technical job for Social Security for decades at one of the 8 large payment centers. In order to get Social Security Disability, you must have a condition that is either expected to last longer than 12 months or expected to be fatal, and the condition must make you unable to perform substantial work. This is what the law says.

     The vast majority of cases that are denied failed in the  review process because of inadequate medical evidence.  Either the doctors could not be bothered to fill out the forms fully and completely to describe the condition, or they failed to attach full medical documentation to the Disability Reports.  I hate to tell you how many forms I've seen denied where the doctors gave a vague description of the patient's condition so that the Disability Reviewers could not tell how bad things are, or just as stupid, the doctors filled out the forms fully then fail to support their statements with evidence from medical tests. 

     Unfortunately, you are going to have to stay on top of your doctors to make sure they submit all the forms and copies of all the tests.  Try to get copies of whatever the doctors submit so that you know what is going on. (This will definitely help you if for any reason you are denied.) Social Security and the State Disability Determination office in your state are supposed to obtain all the paperwork but it would be to your benefit to keep in touch with them to see that everything was properly submitted. 

      And everyone's right about the lawyers.  The lawyers basically win and get paid in most cases because their clerks very carefully assemble all the medical reports and all the medical evidence.  Also, the lawyer's clerks are much more effective in threatening doctors to fill out complete medical reports and submit copies of all tests. It is usually just a case of dotting every 'i' and crossing every 't'.  (The only time when you really need the lawyer is when the condition you have is vague or hard to detect and therefore the lawyer really has to argue with the judge that you are sick even though the evidence is inadequate---most lawyers don't want these cases; they are really hard!!)

       As long as you check with Social Security to make sure that doctors submitted complete copies of medical tests along with medical reports where the doctors fully describe your condition and how you are prevented from performing your work, you should get an approval (but there are no guarantees; remember you are dealing with a large agency and errors can occur!!)

        By the way, the person you were in contact with at the local Social Security office was most likely a "Claims Representative" (or his boss, an "Operations Supervisor").  My job was similar in rank, but I was at a payment center.

        I wish you the best of luck.     Les

Lucky_Horseshoe's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: Jan 2013

According to my experience, if you are working, you cannot collect disability.  In order for SS to kick in for me, I had to have a disability that would cause me to be out of work for 12 months.  I could apply after 6 months of disabiity. 

After everything you have been through, it is great to hear that you are healthy and able to do all of those things.  Keep up the good work!


Posts: 10
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Bob,

     In answer to your question, Traci is right.  The first reason to deny Social Security Disability benefits is the fact that a person is working.  You can only get Social Security Disability benefits if the doctors indicate by their written diagnosis and supporting medical evidence that you are no longer able to do substantial work due to your disabling condition.  Also, the disabling condition must be expected to last more than 12 months (or be terminal).  

     As long as you continue to do substantial work, Social Security will deny your claim.  If you find that work is becoming too difficult, have the doctors re-assess whether you are capable of continuing to do substantial work.  If they find through their diagnosis and supporting evidence that you should no longer work, you should consider stopping work and filing for Social Security Disability immediately (since there is at least a 5 month waiting period). 

     However, if you can continue to successfully perform your job and the doctors have no objections, you should work as long as you possibly can. This is the best thing you could ever do for your overall health.  Good luck!!



Posts: 1019
Joined: Aug 2013

Had NHL 13 years ago. Was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2011, did surgery, chemo and radiation. All looked good and now there are cancerous nodules on the lungs that doctor believe metastasized from rectal cancer. Will need surgery and chemo now. Was told back then it was possible to get cancer from the treatment later in life. It also slightly enlarged the heart. Personally, I do think the chemo drugs caused the cancer. We have no family history of either disease. We all thought, great, non hodgkins was cured and life goes on. Hopefully, this is just a bump in the road. Good luck! I hope you kick cancer's butt!

po18guy's picture
Posts: 1168
Joined: Nov 2011

I applied shortly after I was forcibly retired. SS rules apply and are followed exactly. I asked for disability only back to my retirement date. Under SS rules, I was considered disabled when I relapsed, even though I was working light duty. So, they back-dated my benefits to the date of my relapse. That helped immensely with the bills that were piling up. As far as I know, SS rules state that once you are 62, you are considered to be permently disabled. Thus, you need not go to SS for periodic reviews of your status.  

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