Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the urinary bladder grow out of control. It usually starts in the cells lining the inside of the bladder (transitional cells). Symptoms can include stomach pain, blood in the urine, pain during urination, frequent urination, fatigue, and weight loss. The resulting urinary troubles can make it difficult to work many types of jobs.
If any of the four categories below apply to your diagnosis of bladder cancer, your condition will be considered severe enough to meet Social Security's disability listing for bladder cancer and you will automatically be considered disabled. In this case, as long as you meet the general requirements for the disability program you are applying for, your application for benefits should be approved.
For more information on the requirements regarding inoperable, unresectable, recurrent, or metastasized tumors, see our article on when cancer qualifies for disability benefits.
If you have a diagnosis of bladder cancer, but do not have any of the four criteria listed above to “meet the listing,” Social Security will look at your “residual functional capacity,” or “RFC.” Your RFC assessment is used by Social Security to determine what kind of work you are still capable of doing despite the limitations from your medical condition. For example, if you need to take frequent, unscheduled rest breaks or bathroom breaks at work, this can limit the types of jobs you can do.
If the SSA determines that the symptoms associated with your impairment and treatment are so limiting that there is no job you can perform, you will be awarded benefits under what is called a “medical-vocational allowance.” But if the SSA finds that you are capable of performing any job you used to have, or any other job, Social Security can deny your claim.
For some cancers and other serious illnesses, Social Security has created an expedited program called compassionate allowances. If you meet the disability listing for bladder cancer based on the third criteria listed above (bladder cancer that is inoperable or unresectable) or based on the fourth condition (your bladder cancer has metastasized), that is a compassionate allowance condition. If you are diagnosed with either of these types of bladder cancer, Social Security will expedite your application for disability and approve you for benefits. Learn more about the compassionate allowance program.