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Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides support for people dealing with cancer. We can connect you with trained cancer information specialists who will answer questions about a cancer diagnosis and provide guidance and a compassionate ear.
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At our National Cancer Information Center trained Cancer Information Specialists can answer questions 24 hours a day, every day of the year to empower you with accurate, up-to-date information to help you make educated health decisions. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with valuable services and resources.
Or ask us how you can get involved and support the fight against cancer. Some of the topics we can assist with include:
For medical questions, we encourage you to review our information with your doctor.
Financial and Insurance Matters
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal disability insurance benefit earned by people who have worked and paid into Social Security. It’s only available to people who have disabilities that keep them from working. If you have cancer, you may be able to have your SSDI application processed more quickly
If you get turned down for SSDI, reapply, and appeal if necessary. Many cases end up being approved after an appeal. The amount you get from SSDI will be based on how long you worked, and how much Social Security tax (also called FICA) was taken from your pay. Once you apply for SSDI, the disability clock starts running.
If your disability application is approved, you will usually receive your first benefit payment six months after the date the Social Security Administration finds that your disability began. You will also become eligible for Medicare after you've received SSDI benefits for 2 years.
If you qualify and start getting SSDI, your spouse and any eligible children can also apply for SSDI. If you find you don’t qualify for SSDI, but you are disabled and have limited income and resources, look into Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program also can pay benefits to the disabled, but is based on your income and need.
If you have certain serious illnesses, including some types of cancer, it may take less time to be approved. The Social Security Administration can speed up their review of disability applications for people who have a diagnosis that’s on their Compassionate Allowances list.
You can find out how much you would get from SSDI by looking at your Social Security statement. The statement shows your work history and an estimate of what your benefits would be at this time. To get a Social Security statement:
Note that SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is different from SSI (Supplemental Security Income).
SSI is for people who didn’t pay enough into Social Security during their working years, or who haven’t worked recently enough to qualify for SSDI. However, some people who were employed for short times or whose income was very low may qualify for both SSDI and SSI because their SSDI payment is so low. In that case, the SSI payment is reduced by the amount of SSDI the person gets. See more information on Supplemental Security Income .
The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Along with the American Cancer Society, other sources of information and support are listed below.
Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) - Website: https://ssabest.benefits.gov/
Social Security Administration (SSA)
Toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213
State Health Care Marketplaces – US Department of Health and Human Services
Toll-free number: 1-800-318-2596 (also in Spanish)
*Inclusion on these lists does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.
Social Security Administration (SSA). Disability benefits. Accessed at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/ on October 14, 2021.
US Department of Health and Human Services (State Health Care Marketplaces). People with disabilities. Accessed at https://www.healthcare.gov/people-with-disabilities/no-disability-benefits-no-coverage/ on April 19, 2019.
Last Revised: October 14, 2021
American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.