"CDC statistics show that most American women are likely to have regular mammogram screenings, but women with disabilities are less likely to do so."
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Although breast cancer is a major health concern for all women, the CDC reports that women with disabilities are at special risk. For some women with breast cancer, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is an important benefit that can help provide financial stability, according to Allsup, which represents tens of thousands people nationwide in the SSDI application process each year.
CDC statistics show that most American women are likely to have regular mammogram screenings, but women with disabilities are less likely to do so. In 2008, nearly 76.2 percent of women aged 40 or older reported having a mammogram in the past two years. Women with a disability have a lower mammography rate 72.2 percent. They also may not have been screened within the recommended guidelines, according to the CDC.
Disabilities are prevalent in nearly 30 percent of women age 40 years or older, the CDC reports. More than 7 million women between the ages of 50 and 74 have not had a mammogram in the past two years. The CDC advises that having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. In 2010, 207,090 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 39,840 women died from breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Breast cancer also can affect the ability of women to work in the long term. SSDI is a mandatory, tax-funded, federal insurance program designed to provide individuals with income if they are unable to work for 12 months or longer because of a severe disability, or if they have a terminal condition. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible.
"The diagnosis of breast cancer is life-altering, but it does not always disable a person for at least 12 months as required by SSDI guidelines," said Ed Swierczek, senior claims representative at Allsup. "The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a medical listing that addresses the criteria that must be met to secure benefits during the Social Security disability review process. These criteria include distant metastases or recurrent carcinoma."
"If SSA examiners determine someone does not meet the cancer listing, then additional factors are examined," Swierczek said. "Social Security disability examiners will evaluate the effects of the disease on your abilities and daily functioning, plus they review work history and education as part of the adjudication process."
The process of applying for SSDI benefits is complex, and it can be difficult to receive benefits. Historically, two-thirds of initial applications are denied, which is why representation such as Allsup can be critical to someone with breast cancer who, in addition, may have other related health issues.
"It is not always the cancer that causes one to be disabled," Swierczek said. "It is not uncommon for the effects of treatment, chemotherapy and radiation to render an individual unable to perform any work on a regular and continuing basis."
"As in all disability claims, it is vital that individuals tell their doctors which symptoms they experience so that a medical record may be properly documented," he said. "Keep in mind doctors are focused on treating patients to make them better they are not in the business of documenting medical records for a disability claim. Thus, it is quite important to let your doctor know that you are having fatigue, pain, shortness of breath and other symptoms."
Allsup helps more people to receive their benefits with their initial application when compared to the national average, which helps applicants avoid a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. Find out more by reading, "Six Advantages of Representation When You First Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits."
If you have questions about SSDI eligibility or applying with breast cancer, contact the Allsup Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 279-4357 for a free SSDI evaluation. Find more information about Social Security disability benefits at Allsup.com.
ABOUT ALLSUP - Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 700 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. For more information, visit www.Allsup.com
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