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Cancer and disability: Making ends meet when fighting the disease

When Minnesotans suffer from aggressive forms of cancer, they may need to undergo months of intense medical treatments. Going through treatment and recovering from surgeries can be physically and emotionally exhausting, making it difficult for cancer patients to get out of bed each day. And side effects from treatments can also cause patients to experience additional pain and other medical problems. For some cancer victims, going to work while undergoing treatments is simply not an option.

Unfortunately, when cancer victims are facing costly medical bills for treatments, not being able to work may make matters even worse for victims and their families. Who will support the family when the primary wage earner cannot work because of his or her disabling illness? How will a family continue to pay medical bills and other bills while living off of one income instead of two incomes?

According to a new study, cancer has the potential to force workers, young victims and families into bankruptcy. The study was conducted by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. The study revealed that cancer patients are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy protection as folks who do not have cancer.

Although cancer may prevent folks from being able to work and earn an income, workers who become disabled as a result of cancer should know that they may be able to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, which may help disabled workers and their families make ends meet.

Even though an individual may not be diagnosed with terminal cancer, cancer may render a worker disabled for several months. And when a worker is disabled for at least 12 months and is unable to earn more than $1,000 a month as a result of his or her illness, the worker may be eligible to receive SSDI benefits.

Cancer may certainly take an emotional and physical toll on workers, but disabled workers may at least be able to find some financial relief by applying for disability benefits while they undergo treatments and recover from their illnesses. If you have cancer and worry about not being able to work while fighting your illness, you may want to contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about receiving disability benefits in Minnesota.

Source: The New York Times, "Washington: Cancer patients more prone to bankruptcy," Sabrina Tavernise, May 15, 2013

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