What is a compassionate allowance and how can it help me?
Social Security benefits provide much needed financial assistance to individuals with certain medical conditions that limit their ability to work. While SSDI benefits can be life changing, applying for and receiving benefits is often a lengthy process. Applicants may be forced to wait between four and six months to find out whether their claim has been approved. Individuals who are denied benefits will wait even longer while going through the slow appeals process.
In some cases, individuals with a severe medical condition may be able to complete an expedited application process with the assistance of a Social Security Disability Claims lawyer. The Compassionate Allowances initiative allows the Social Security Administration to quickly identify diseases and conditions that are so severe they will obviously meet the Social Security’s definition of disability.
Applying for a Compassionate Allowance
The Compassionate Allowance (CAL) initiative is not a separate program and is a part of the general SSDI/SSI system. There is not a special application or form for a CAL. Individuals with a CAL condition can apply for benefits through the standard SSDI process. The SSA will expedite the applications of those with a CAL condition.
There are currently more than 200 conditions that will qualify for a compassionate allowance. They include:
- Several forms of cancer
- Acute leukemia
- Adult-onset Huntington’s disease
- Aortic atresia
- Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart transplant waiting list
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Tricuspid atresia
To apply for a compassionate allowance, you should consult with a SSDI claims attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will assist you with preparing an application for benefits which includes a description of your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your medical history. It is important that your application be as complete and thorough as possible so that your claim is routed to the CAL and granted as quickly as possible.
The SSA is working to add more CAL conditions each year. CAL conditions are selected based on information received during public outreach hearings, from scientific experts, and through research by major health organizations. In the future, it is hoped that all individuals with severe conditions can rapidly receive the SSDI benefits they deserve.