At 2PM this afternoon in a long awaited decision the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that having hormone refractory or metastatic prostate cancer automatically qualifies a man to receive Social Security Disability coverage.

If you do qualify there still are some restrictions on your ability to receive benefits. You can’t qualify for disability benefits if you are able to work and earn more than $1,200 a month.

How Do I Apply for Benefits?
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled or if you are already disabled by:
• Complete your application online.
• Call our toll-free telephone number 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call TTY 1-800-325-0778.
• Call or visit your local Social Security office. To find your nearest office click here
Important: If you want to apply in person, please call and make an appointment before you visit your local office.

When Your Benefits Start
If your application is approved, your first Social Security benefit will be paid form the sixth full month after the date your disability began. For example, if your disability began on June 15, 2013, your first benefit would be paid for the month of December 2013, the sixth full month of disability.

Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they’re due. This means that the benefit due for December would be paid to you in January 2014, and so on.

How Much You Will Receive
The amount of your monthly disability benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.
If you don’t already have an estimate, you can get your Social Security Statement online or use our Benefit Calculators to determine how much you would get if you became disabled right now.

When you start receiving disability benefits, certain members of your family also may qualify for benefits on your record. Benefits may be paid to your:
• spouse,
• divorced spouse,
• children,
• disabled child, and/or
• adult child disabled before age 22

If any of your qualified family members apply for benefits, the SSA will ask for their Social Security numbers and their birth certificates. If your spouse is applying for benefits, they also may ask for proof of marriage, and dates of prior marriages, if applicable.

Maximum Family Amount
Each family member may be eligible for a monthly benefit of up to 50 percent of your disability rate. However, there is a limit to the amount we can pay your family. The total depends on your benefit amount and the number of family members who also qualify on your record. The total varies, but generally the total amount you and your family can receive is about 150 to 180 percent of your disability benefit. If the sum of the benefits payable on your account is greater than the family limit, the benefits to the family members will be reduced proportionately. Your benefit will not be affected.

Download an informative summary pamphlet from the Social Security about SSD at:

In addition to prostate cancer there are a number of other serious illnesses that will now qualify for automatic SSD benefits. Learn about these as well as the compassionate allowances by going clicking here

Joel T. Nowak, M.A., M.S.W.