Breast Cancer Awareness Month Should Include Insurance, America's Top Insurance Attorney, Frank Darras Says, "Women Need Early Protection"

Considering that about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, it is important that women know their options when it comes to disability and long-term care insurance.

October 10, 2012

October, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is aimed at promoting awareness, sharing information on the disease, and providing greater access to service. The goal is early detection, but Frank N. Darras, America's top insurance lawyer, wants it to also be early protection.

"Considering that about 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, it is important that women know their options when it comes to disability and long-term care insurance. While I hope it's a purchase that's never used, the last thing anyone should be worrying about during treatment is finances," says Darras.

Individuals can file for disability through the Social Security for breast cancer, but there are many restrictions that apply. Whether you live in Washington state or northern Maine, In most cases, your cancer has to be in highly advanced stages in order to qualify. The medical-vocational allowance allows you to qualify for some benefits if you are evaluated and deemed able to perform sedentary work only. However, this benefit is still difficult to get, especially if you are under the age of 55.

"Social Security will only grant disability in extreme cases where working has become nearly physically impossible. What they fail to recognize and account for is time needed off from work to seek treatment, the pain and fatigue that comes with treatment and the long-term effects of treatment after the battle has been won," says Darras.

Pain, fatigue, headaches, depression, mood swings, and memory loss are all symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation. These symptoms make it difficult to work full-time or even part-time in some cases.

"The problem is many individuals feel as if they can't quit or take time off simply because they can't afford it. If the illness forces them to take time off, they quickly slip into financial trouble. This is a burden that no one should face during recovery," says Darras.

Purchasing disability or long-term care insurance helps protect against wage loss if you are diagnosed with breast cancer. Disability insurance pays part of your income, usually 60% of your salary for the period of time outlined in your policy. It can be purchased through an employer or a private insurance company. Long-term care insurance covers any help needed when a chronic illness or disability has left the individual without the ability to do so. These plans pay a fixed amount for each day that care is received and can cover a range of services from nursing homes to in-home care.

"Your mental and emotional health is extremely important to your recovery. Protecting yourself now will ensure that you don't add stress to an already stressful situation. Finances should be the last thing you have to worry about through your recovery. You should be focused on fighting the cancer, not a bill collector," says Darras.