Our 24/7 cancer helpline provides information and answers 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.
Our highly trained specialists are available 24/7 via phone and on weekdays can assist through video calls and online chat. We connect patients, caregivers, and family members with essential services and resources at every step of their cancer journey. 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.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal benefit for people who have disabilities that keep them from working. To be able to get SSDI, people must have worked in jobs where they paid into Social Security.
Having a low income or financial need does not affect whether you can get SSDI.
You can apply for SSDI:
Try to review the information about the disability application process before applying for SSDI. This will help you know what information you need to gather before applying.
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.
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 you qualify and start getting SSDI, your spouse and any eligible children can also apply for SSDI. If you don’t qualify for SSDI, but you are disabled and have limited income and resources, look into Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program 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.
If you get turned down for SSDI, reapply, and appeal if necessary. Many cases end up being approved after an appeal.
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:
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. Some people who were employed for short times or whose income was very low may be able to get 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.
Other sources of information and support include:
US Department of Health and Human Services
This site explains patient rights with regard to health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
American Hospital Association
Toll-free number: 1-800-242-2626 (this is the customer service/publication order line)
AHA’s Patient Care Partnership brochure teaches patients about rights and responsibilities in regard to their hospital stay. (It comes in English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.) The brochure is sold in bulk orders only and there’s a fee for non-members. You can read it online for free, in any of the languages, at www.aha.org/aha/issues/Communicating-With-Patients/pt-care-partnership.html.
National Library of Medicine
This site has information on patient rights along with many links to other sources of related information.
Medicare Rights Center (for those with Medicare)
Toll-free number: 1-800-333-4114
This service can help you understand your rights and benefits, work through the Medicare system, and get quality care. They have newsletters, fact sheets, and a place to submit questions. They can also help you find programs that help reduce your costs for prescription drugs and medical care, and guide you through the appeals process if Medicare denies coverage for drugs or care you need.
*Inclusion on this list does not imply endorsement by the American Cancer Society.
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.
Social Security Administration (SSA). Disability benefits (booklet). Accessed at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/ on August 17, 2023.
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 August 17, 2023.
Last Revised: September 30, 2023
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