Be the Boss Over Cancer

I lost my job a few months before my diagnosis in late 2009 and have been unemployed since. I’ve had two major surgeries, three lines of chemo or chemoradiation, and two additional hospitalizations for complications. I keep thinking I’ll achieve remission long enough to get the energy for job-hunting, but that hasn’t happened. I am 59, my gynecological cancer is recurrent, metastacized and incurable, and I’ll soon be starting my fourth line of treatment. My husband and I are living on his income and our dwindling savings. Though I don’t like the idea, psychologically, of applying for SSDI benefits, I’m starting to wonder if I should. I can’t tell from reading the SSA’s “Disability Benefits” booklet if I might be eligible or not (when I’m not suffering chemo-related fatigue or chemo-brain, I can certainly “walk, talk, and remember”; during and after treatment, all three can be difficult). Would meeting with a disability attorney help me ascertain my chances of getting benefits? And if so, how do I go about finding a good one?


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  • Sarah Goodell

    Sarah Goodell on May 9, 2013

    Cancer and Careers Staff Comment:

    Hi Deborah,

    Apologies for the delayed response, we've been experiencing problems with the alerts from our website. Our legal expert is currently out of the office, but she will get back to you when she returns. 

    In the meantime, I would recommend checking out to the National Cancer Legal Services Network:


    Sarah, Cancer and Careers Program Coordinator

  • Deborah H.

    Deborah H. on May 9, 2013

    Sarah: Sorry about the technical issues but thanks for explaining. I'll check out the NCLSN and look forward to hearing from your legal expert soon.

  • Deborah H.

    Deborah H. on May 10, 2013

    Correction: Meant to say "late 2010" not "late 2009." I understand there's a certain window of time in which I can apply, so I wanted to make that fix.

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