The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program was created to expedite the approval process for Social Security disability benefits for people with the most serious diseases and medical conditions that invariably meet the SSA’s legal standards. So far, the program has fast-tracked nearly 200,000 applications for people with conditions such as cancer, immunological disorders and neurological disease.
The agency has just announced 25 new conditions that will now trigger the Compassionate Allowances fast track, bringing the total to 225 serious diseases and medical conditions that virtually always meet the legal definition of disability.
“Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve,” the SSA’s acting commissioner noted. “We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program.”
The list of diseases and medical conditions qualifying for Compassionate Allowances are determined through collaboration between the SSA, medical experts, the public and disability advocates, along with public hearings and substantial feedback from a variety of stakeholders.
One of the 25 newly-added conditions may surprise some who haven’t watched a family member suffer: prostate cancer. The disabling nature of the disease comes as no surprise, however, to Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who touted the decision to include prostate cancer as a life-saving one because it will give patients greater access to treatment options.
“Working with constituents fighting this disease, I know just how life altering it can be,” he said, “as well as how many will benefit from this change in policy.”
You can find more information about what diseases and medical conditions qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program on its website. If you or a loved one is suffering from a disabling illness or injury you think might qualify, speak with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Social Security Announces New Compassionate Allowances Conditions,” Jan. 15, 2014