People suffering from a range of serious disabilities often must wait months or even years for federal disability benefits, even if they are clearly eligible. But thanks to a program called Compassionate Allowances, those suffering from specific conditions can have their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications fast-tracked. Over the past five years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has quintupled the number of conditions that qualify under the program.
The Compassionate Allowances program allows people whose conditions "obviously meet disability standards" to bypass the typical disability evaluation process and obtain SSDI or SSI benefits in a matter of weeks instead of having to wait for months. As recently as 2009 the program only applied to people with 50 severe and rare conditions that were usually terminal. Since then, the SSA has added approximately 200 additional conditions to the Compassionate Allowances list, including some more common diseases like thyroid cancer and late-stage prostate cancer.
People with conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list apply for disability benefits just like other applicants by filing a claim online, in a local Social Security Office or by calling the SSA. Even though having a Compassionate Allowances condition will speed up the evaluation process, an applicant still needs to meet other basic requirements in order to receive benefits, including the requirement that the condition prevents the applicant from working. In addition, a beneficiary who qualifies through the Compassionate Allowances system does not receive additional financial or medical benefits.
To read more about Compassionate Allowances, and to view a list of the conditions that qualify for an Allowance, click here.Article Last Modified: 02/28/2014
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