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SSDI for Mesothelioma

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Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may provide compensation benefits, such as monthly income, to eligible mesothelioma patients under age 65 who are unable to work because of their condition and have paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes, among other requirements.

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What Is SSDI for Mesothelioma?

You can think of Social Security Disability Insurance as a way to access your retirement benefits before you reach retirement age. This program is an important financial resource for mesothelioma patients younger than 65 who have to stop working because of their cancer treatment.

After receiving Social Security disability benefits for two years, recipients also become eligible for Medicare coverage.

If you have to stop working because of mesothelioma, it is almost always better to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, rather than applying to receive retirement benefits early.

When you apply for retirement benefits early, the Social Security Administration permanently reduces the amount of your fixed monthly income. But when you are approved for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, your fixed monthly income is calculated at the full amount.

SSDI Eligibility for Mesothelioma Patients

  • You are younger than age 65.
  • You have earned enough work credits to receive Social Security retirement benefits.
  • You have to stop working because of your cancer treatment.
  • You can provide medical documentation of your mesothelioma diagnosis.

How Much Is SSDI for Mesothelioma?

Monthly income from Social Security Disability Insurance is calculated the same as regular retirement benefits. It depends on your lifetime average earnings that were subject to Social Security taxes. The more Social Security taxes you paid, the larger your monthly benefit checks.

This program is not intended to provide any type of special compensation for developing occupational cancer.

How to Apply for SSDI

The best way is to apply for SSDI is directly with the Social Security Administration. It provides an online tool and a phone number. A specialized mesothelioma lawyer also can help you file for benefits and review all the other financial resources that may be available to you.

Social Security Compassionate Allowance for Mesothelioma

Normally, there is a five-month waiting period to receive disability benefits, but the Social Security Administration makes exceptions for malignant illnesses such as mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma patients automatically qualify for a compassionate allowance, which expedites processing and payment.

The key to securing a compassionate allowance is to make sure your application includes the right medical documentation. The gold standard is a pathology report that positively identified mesothelioma cancer cells in a biopsy sample.

If your claim documents are in order, you could begin receiving your monthly benefit checks within a month of the filing date. Otherwise, the Social Security Administration may order a medical evaluation, or you may have to file an appeal.

Social Security Benefits for Mesothelioma Patients

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Supplemental Security Income for Mesothelioma

Supplemental Security Income can provide financial assistance to mesothelioma patients who have not earned enough work credits to receive Social Security Disability Insurance or retirement benefits.

The medical eligibility requirements are the same as for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Supplemental Security Income is managed by the Social Security Administration, but it is not funded by Social Security taxes. Supplemental Security Income is a welfare program for disabled people with very little income and assets.

Mesothelioma patients who meet the income requirements for Supplemental Security Income are usually also eligible for their state Medicaid and food stamp programs. These benefits vary by state and claimant’s income level.

When Should Mesothelioma Patients Apply for SSI?

  • You have very little income and assets.
  • You have not earned enough work credits to receive Social Security retirement benefits.
  • You can provide medical documentation of your mesothelioma diagnosis.

How Much Is SSI for Mesothelioma?

As of January 2019, an individual living independently may receive up to $771 per month in Supplemental Security Income. The rate for a couple is up to $1,157. The rates are lower for people living in someone else’s care.

Many states provide additional assistance to supplement the federal program. Even with Supplemental Security Income, however, mesothelioma patients still face significant financial challenges. In many cases, other sources of mesothelioma compensation provide much greater support.

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Lawyer and On-Site Legal Advisor

Joe Lahav is a lawyer and legal advisor at The Mesothelioma Center. He graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Law in 2000, and he's licensed to practice in Washington, D.C., and Florida. Joe lost his mother to cancer, and he understands the emotional toll mesothelioma can have on families.

Walter Pacheco, Managing Editor at
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4 Cited Article Sources

The sources on all content featured in The Mesothelioma Center at include medical and scientific studies, peer-reviewed studies and other research documents from reputable organizations.

  1. Social Security Administration. (2018, December 13). COMPASSIONATE ALLOWANCE INFORMATION: PLEURAL MESOTHELIOMA.
    Retrieved from:
  2. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Benefits For People With Disabilities.
    Retrieved from:
  3. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Benefits Planner: Disability.
    Retrieved from:
  4. Social Security Administration. (n.d.). Supplemental Security Income Home Page -- 2019 Edition.
    Retrieved from:

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Last Modified April 16, 2020

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