Compassionate Allowances Program Ensures Timely SSD Determination

Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits provide essential support for those who are unable to work due to illness or injury. This is especially true when an applicant has a condition so serious that it obviously meets applicable disability criteria. For this reason, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has established a program called Compassionate Allowances (CAL), which allows those with certain serious conditions to receive an expedited SSD benefits determination.

Qualifying Conditions

The SSA consults medical and scientific experts, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and those in the disability determination services communities to determine which conditions qualify for the CAL program. The CAL conditions are ones that obviously meet the SSA's definition of disability. The SSA meets regularly with disease groups and the NIH to identify impairments severe enough to be added to the list of CAL conditions. The SSA plans to continue working with experts to add new conditions to the CAL list each year.

In all, there are currently 200 Compassionate Allowances conditions. The list of CAL conditions includes:

  • Cancer
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Early-onset Alzheimer's disease
  • Schizophrenia
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurological disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases

Those with CAL conditions can apply for SSD benefits and the SSA expedites their applications automatically. The speed with which the SSA makes its decision depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • How quickly the SSA can obtain medical information from an applicant's physician or other source
  • Whether a medical examination is required to support the claim
  • Whether the claim has been randomly selected for quality assurance

Generally, those with CAL conditions can receive a decision on their claim for benefits in a matter of weeks instead of months. Though the application process is generally the same for those with CAL conditions, the SSA has worked to make things a bit easier. For example, unlike other applicants, those with CAL conditions are not required to complete the work and education portions of the SSD application. Due to the severity of CAL conditions, this information is usually not necessary to make a disability determination.

A Social Security Disability Attorney Can Help

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits or appealing a denial of benefits, contact an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer can assess your case and help you get the benefits you deserve. For more information about what a Social Security Disability lawyer can do for you, contact an attorney today.