I Have Cancer and Can’t Work, What Can I Do?

If you are unable to work due to the effects of cancer, there are options available to help you pay for the necessities of daily living. One of these options is to apply for disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to applicants whose cancer prevents them from working for at least 12 months.

If your cancer diagnosis prevents you from working for at least 12 months, the SSA may consider you disabled enough to qualify for SSDI. However, you should also have worked at a job and accumulated enough work credits. Typically, you need 40 credits, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending in the year your disability began. However, if you are a younger worker, you may still qualify with fewer credits. If the SSA decides you are eligible, you may have a 5-month wait until you start receiving your benefits.

One such program is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which provides cash assistance to Native American families who have dependent children. There is also the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

The FMLA helps employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons. Employers must provide an eligible employee with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave each year for various reasons, such as caring for a close family member, such as a spouse, child, or parent who has been diagnosed with a serious medical condition; or when the employee is unable to work due to a serious health condition. The employee must have worked for their employer for at least 12 months or at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months, and work at a location where the company employs 50 or more employees.

Many states offer free meals, such as the Meals on Wheels program, which is available to people over age 60, regardless of income, but who are homebound due to illness or disability, or have difficulty obtaining food or meals for themselves.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society offers financial assistance to cancer patients to help with the cost of treatment and assistance with travel. Its Urgent Need Program also offers financial support to cancer sufferers to help pay rent, mortgage, childcare, food and other essential expenses.

It’s never easy to know where to find financial help when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and can’t work. The first place you can turn is the SSA, which provides disability benefits to those who are eligible. Complete your Free Case Evaluation and be connected with an independent attorney who subscribes to the website and can help you with your case.


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