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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Colorectal Cancer: On Disability


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This area of our guide covers the areas of your life affected by your inability to work because of your health condition.

If you are receiving a disability income, whether from an employer, a disability income insurance policy, or a government program such as Social Security Disability:

  • Start preparing in case an investigator calls. 
  • At the same time, when you're up to it, start preparing for a return to work.
  • Consider whether you want to return to the same job you had or make a change. Perhaps even become self employed. (To learn about getting started as a person with a health condition, click here.)

If you are feeling well enough to do work type activities, consider volunteering. As a general matter, volunteering does not count even if you volunteer from 9 -- 5 because you are not obligated to show up. Volunteering is good for the spirit, can help against depression, and can even help you learn new skills or bring old skills to date in case you do return to the work force. To learn about volunteering, click here.

Consider whether you are mentally, physically and emotionally ready to return to work. An easy way to find out if you are ready to work full time is to volunteer, preferably in a situation which helps get skills up-to-date or perhaps in a new area of work you are considering.

If you are ready to return to work: 

  • if you are receiving a disability income and other benefits, look at the effect a return to work will have on your income and other benefits. For information about the effect on income, click here.
  • Consider whether this is the time to become self employed or to start your own business. (For information, see the documents in "To Learn More.")

Returning to work will be easier for you and others if you stay in touch with former co-workers while not working. Keep co-workers informed about your situation and progress. Talk to them on the phone, send a text or email, or appoint a trusted friend or family member to do this for you. When you are able, stop in the office.

When thinking about returning to work, or what kind of work to do, keep in mind that:

  • The only question is whether you are mentally and physically able to work now. What may happen in the future is not relevant.
  • If you would prefer to work for another employer, job lock because of a health condition is a thing of the past. New employers cannot ask about your health condition thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar laws. Thanks to a law known as HIPAA, if a new employer's health plan has a waiting period for pre-existing health conditions, the amount of time you have previous health coverage can count against that time period as long as the gap between coverages is no more than 62 days.

Before you return to work, click. here. To learn about helpful tips for when you return to work, click here


  • If you are experiencing financial difficulties (what we refer to as a "financial crunch") click here.
  • If you are experiencing emotional issues: if you are experiencing a recurrence, click here. It you are  without evidence of disease and are well past the end of treatment, click here.
  • If you have health insurance, and aren't sure whether you are maximizing use of it, click here.

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