SSA adds to list of Social Security Compassionate Allowances conditions

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can sometimes be an arduous process. In most cases, the Social Security Administration requires disability applicants to provide significant proof that their disabling condition will prevent them from working for at least one year. The process can be even longer if the SSA denies the initial application, requiring the applicant to pursue an appeal.

This process can be frustrating for nearly any applicant. However, it is especially troubling for SSD applicants whose conditions are so clearly disabling that it is practically obvious that they would qualify for benefits. When these applicants are forced to wait for months - or even years - to start receiving benefits, the stress of having a serious disability is often compounded by a striking sense of injustice at having to struggle to survive because of bureaucratic delays.

In an attempt to address this problem, the Social Security Administration created a program called "Compassionate Allowances." The program essentially fast-tracks severely disabled SSD applicants to ensure that they receive benefits decisions as soon as possible. In many cases, it can take less than two weeks for an application to be approved.

The Compassionate Allowances program is available to SSD applicants who have a medical condition that the SSA has determined is so serious that it clearly meets federal disability standards. The vast majority of conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list are cancers, brain disorders and rare childhood afflictions. In some instances, applicants are required to show not only that they have a qualifying condition, but also that the condition has progressed to a certain stage (for example, that a cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body).

The SSA periodically adds to the list of qualifying Compassionate Allowances conditions after reviewing scientific evidence and input from the public, advocacy groups and the National Institutes of Health. In December 2012, the SSA added 35 conditions to the list, bringing the total number of qualifying conditions to 200. Some of the recently-added conditions include the following:

  • Adult Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Child t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Roberts syndrome
  • Fatal familial insomnia
  • Childhood severe combined immunodeficiency
  • Sinonasal cancer
  • Transplant coronary artery vasculopathy

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced disability attorney before submitting your application. The attorney will be able to help you make sure your application is well-supported and may be able to identify opportunities for speeding up the application process. If your SSD application has been denied, the attorney can help you pursue an appeal.