Yes, you can potentially qualify for disability benefits if you have a brain tumor. The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers brain tumors under its Listing of Impairments. To be eligible for SSDI or SSI disability benefits, the brain tumor must meet certain criteria outlined in the listing or significantly impact your ability to work. The severity, location, and tumor treatment will be factors considered in the disability evaluation process. 

Dealing with multiple health conditions, such as a brain tumor and additional challenges like depression or back pain, can significantly impact your ability to work. It’s important to understand which combinations of conditions qualify for disability benefits. 

Navigating the application process requires thorough documentation highlighting the cumulative effects of these conditions on your daily life and work capacity. (Learn more on how to apply for the disability benefits?)

Is A Brain Tumor Considered A Disability?

Yes, if a diagnosed brain tumor affects your daily functioning and work capacity, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. This is especially applicable if the tumor causes cancer, as certain types automatically qualify for disability benefits. Meeting the criteria involves demonstrating the substantial impact of the cancer on your ability to perform work-related tasks and daily activities.

What Is A Brain Tumor?

A brain tumor is an abnormal growth or mass of cells in the brain. It can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Benign tumors are usually slow-growing and may not invade nearby tissues, while malignant tumors can be more aggressive and may spread to other parts of the brain or even to other body areas. 

Common Types of Brain Tumor

There are various types of brain tumors, and they can be classified based on their origin, behavior, and location. Some common types include:

  • Gliomas: These tumors originate in the glial cells, which support and nourish nerve cells. Glioblastoma multiforme is a highly aggressive glioma.
  • Meningiomas: Arising from the meninges, the layers covering the brain and spinal cord, meningiomas are usually slow-growing and often benign.
  • Pituitary Tumors: These tumors develop in the pituitary gland, affecting hormonal regulation.
  • Medulloblastomas: Primarily found in the cerebellum, these tumors are more common in children.
  • Schwannomas: Arising from Schwann cells, these tumors usually affect the nerves associated with hearing and balance.
  • Metastatic Tumors: Cancers from other parts of the body can spread to the brain, forming metastatic tumors.

Each type requires specific treatment approaches, and prognosis varies based on factors such as tumor type, location, and overall health of the individual.

Eligibility Criteria For Brain Tumor Disability

To qualify for disability benefits due to a brain tumor, you need to meet the eligibility criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA evaluates disability claims based on the severity and impact of the medical condition on your ability to work. 

  • Medical Evidence: Provide detailed medical records, including imaging studies and pathology reports, confirming the presence of a brain tumor.
  • Functional Limitations: Demonstrate how the brain tumor affects your ability to perform work-related activities. This includes physical, cognitive, and emotional limitations.
  • Duration of Impairment: The symptoms and impairment caused by the brain tumor must be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death.
  • Inability to Work: Show that you cannot engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) due to the tumor. This involves demonstrating a failure to perform work that earns a certain income.
  • Meeting a Listed Impairment: Some brain tumors may meet the criteria of a listed impairment in the SSA’s Blue Book, streamlining the approval process.

What Should You Do If Your Brain Tumor Meets The Eligibility Criteria?

If Your Brain Tumor Meets Eligibility Criteria:

  • Submit a Strong Application: Compile comprehensive medical documentation, including imaging reports, treatment history, and functional limitations, to support your claim.
  • Provide Supporting Statements: Include statements from treating physicians detailing the severity and impact of the brain tumor on your ability to work.
  • Meet Deadlines: Ensure timely submission of all required forms and documents to prevent delays in the review process.

What If Your Medical Impairment Does Not Meet The Criteria?

If Your Medical Impairment Does Not Meet Criteria:

  • Seek a Second Opinion: Obtain additional medical evaluations to gather more evidence supporting the severity of your condition.
  • Appeal the Decision: If your initial application is denied, you have the right to appeal. File an appeal within the specified timeframe and provide any additional evidence.
  • Legal Representation: Consider engaging a disability attorney to guide you through the appeal process and present a strong case.
  • Request a Hearing: If necessary, request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge to present your case in person.

How Much Are Disability Benefits For Brain Tumors?

Even though the SSA doesn’t specifically designate payments for brain tumors, the average disability check for individuals diagnosed with cancer, including neoplasms like brain tumors, is $1,579.04 per month. 

This payment can go up to $3,600 monthly for SSDI and $914 monthly for SSI in 2023. The exact amount varies based on factors like your work history, years of employment, and any additional income. These figures are mandated by law and apply regardless of the specific condition, ensuring consistency in disability benefit payments.

How Can a Disability Lawyer Help If Your Disability Claim Gets Denied?

If your disability claim is denied, a Social Security Disability Lawyer can be instrumental in guiding you through the appeals process. They bring expertise to navigate complex legal requirements, gather necessary evidence, and present a compelling case on your behalf. All this will significantly increase your chances of a successful appeal.