Social Security Disability Benefits Key To Women During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Allsup Reports

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January cancer awareness activities include education, screening information

The effects of cervical cancer and treatment may lead to a severe disability that prevents work, and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are an important option for women.

Each year, there are about 12,000 new cases of HPV-associated cervical cancer diagnosed in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Recent studies by researchers at the CDC, however, report that cervical cancer has declined. Formerly the leading cause of cancer death in women in the U.S., cervical cancer is now highly treatable at earlier stages due to screening tests. During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Allsup is helping organizations nationwide raise awareness that cervical cancer can be found early through the use of two screening tests—the Pap smear and the human papillomavirus (HPV) test.

Cervical cancer happens most often in women over 30. No matter what the ethnicity, all women are at risk. CDC statistics show that more African-American and Hispanic women experience cervical cancer than women of other races or ethnicities. In its early stage, cervical cancer may not show any symptoms. The Pap smear searches for cell changes on the cervix that might become cancerous if left untreated. The HPV test indicates the presence of the human papillomavirus that causes cell changes. Both tests are crucial to early detection that increases a woman’s ability to survive cervical cancer.

If a woman learns that she has cervical cancer and she must stop working, she may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI) benefits. SSDI is a federally mandated disability insurance program that provides monthly benefits to individuals who are under full retirement age (age 65 or older) and who can no longer work because of a severe disability—injury, illness or condition—that is expected to last for more than 12 months or is terminal. Individuals must have paid FICA taxes to be eligible.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has medical listings (13.23B1 and 13.23B.2) for cervical cancer that is referred to as carcinoma or sarcoma of uterine cervix, according to Allsup senior claimant representative Ed Swierczek.

“If an individual’s cancer does not meet one of these listings, the claimant may have other medical conditions in combination with her cancer that would equate to a medical listing,” Swierczek said.

Medical listings provide SSA disability examiners with the criteria to evaluate conditions under the SSDI program. “If the claimant’s cancer does not meet or medically equate to a medical listing, then the claimant’s residual functional capacity is assessed,” Swierczek explained. “The claimant may have so little remaining ability to work that she can still be found disabled without meeting or equating a medical listing.”

The side effects of cervical cancer treatment—radiation and chemotherapy—may produce debilitating side effects, including extreme fatigue and limiting symptoms that prevent work.

“Additionally, some types of cancer treatment have been known to cause neuropathy, which could stop someone from using their hands or feet properly,” Swierczek pointed out. “This is secondary to intense pain caused by the neuropathy.”

Swierczek advised women suffering from cervical cancer to document all symptoms with their doctors, including secondary symptoms such as fatigue and pain, so that medical records can substantiate all claims. “An SSA ruling specifically states that the treating physician’s opinion is to be given controlling weight as long as the medical evidence provided with this opinion supports the opinion,” Swierczek said.

For more information about eligibility for Social Security disability benefits, contact Allsup’s Disability Evaluation Center at (800) 678-3276.

Allsup is a nationwide provider of Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, Medicare and Medicare Secondary Payer compliance services for individuals, employers and insurance carriers. Founded in 1984, Allsup employs more than 800 professionals who deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. The company is based in Belleville, Ill., near St. Louis. Visit or connect with Allsup at

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