A cancer diagnosis has a drastic effect on every aspect of an individual's life, including their ability to earn an income. As a result, for people who find themselves facing this type of scenario, there are often questions about how they will be able to sustain themselves financially. In some instances, being approved for long-term disability can help. However, it is important to understand that the process of filing for disability can be complicated, so you need to be prepared.

Diagnosis and Prognosis

Similar to other forms of disability, you will be required to provide an official diagnosis of cancer. This official record will generally need to include an official statement from a physician, medical records, test results, and other pertinent information. However, for a long-term disability claim, you also need to include prognosis information. For the claim to be approved, you will typically need to prove that the period for which you cannot work will be extended based on your prognosis.

Specific Criteria

There are also generally specific criteria, or benchmarks, that must be met. First, marked evidence that supports your claim that you are unable to work is necessary. Periods of extreme fatigue, pain, limited mobility, and other symptoms that would impact your ability to work should be highlighted. Second, in some situations, there may be a specific time threshold that must be met, such as criteria on the time from diagnosis to the time of the claim, for a long-term claim to be approved. 


Success with a long-term disability claim related to cancer is also sometimes more successful when you can prove that the side effects of the treatment are worse than the diagnosis itself. For example, for some people, the cancer is not what keeps them from being able to work; instead, it's the effects of radiation or chemotherapy. If you have treatment concerns, it is important to highlight this in your claim.

Personal Statement

One of the most effective tools that you can add to your long-term disability claim is a personal statement. Medical records and facts about your side effects and treatment are helpful. However, there are few things as effective as a personal account of precisely how this disease is affecting you. While you should speak from the heart and include as much detail as possible, an attorney can help you prepare this statement to ensure it is effective.

Obtaining any form of disability can seem like an uphill battle, but when it comes to long-term disability, the challenge seems more significant. You do not have to go along this journey on your own. Allow an attorney to assist you with the process. Contact a long-term disability attorney to learn more.