Disability Benefits for Kidney Cancer

If your kidney cancer is in its advanced stages, you will automatically qualify for benefits.

By , J.D. University of Baltimore School of Law

Kidney cancer begins in the kidneys, two organs about the size of your fists that are located in your lower back on either side of your spine. People often have few symptoms of kidney cancer in its early stages; however, the symptoms can include blood in the urine, chronic lower back pain, fatigue, and weight loss.

The primary treatment for kidney cancer is removal of the entire kidney or part of the kidney. Other treatments, such as blocking blood flow to the tumor or freezing the tumor cells, can be used when surgery isn't possible. Prognosis depends on how far along your kidney cancer is when you are diagnosed, your general health, and your medical history.

How Do I Get Disability for My Kidney Cancer?

When you apply for disability, the SSA will look at your illness to see if it meets or equals one of the qualifying conditions in the SSA's Listing of Impairments. If your illness is a qualifying condition, and you meet all of the criteria of the listing, your claim will be automatically approved.

Kidney cancer is one of the qualifying conditions in the SSA's Listing. You will be eligible for automatic approval if:

  • Surgery cannot be performed to treat your kidney cancer.
  • Surgery did not remove all the cancer in your kidney.
  • Your kidney cancer returns after an earlier remission.
  • Your kidney cancer spreads to your lymph nodes or elsewhere in your body.

It is important that you provide the SSA with your complete medical history with regards to your kidney cancer. This includes copies of biopsies, CT scans, MRIs, blood tests, hospitalizations, surgical reports, medication lists and side effects, and any reports created by your treating physician.

For more information on the requirements regarding inoperable, unresectable, recurrent, or metastasized tumors, see our article on when cancer qualifies for disability benefits.

When One Kidney Is Removed

If you have a kidney removed because of the cancer, but the other kidney is healthy, you will not meet the listing requirements. However, if complications arise with the remaining kidney, you may be eligible for disability under the kidney and urinary listings, which discuss qualifying kidney conditions.

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