SSA Adds 38 Conditions to Those Qualifying for Automatic Disability Benefits

In certain circumstances the Social Security Administration (SSA) will fast-track a disability benefits application through a process known as Compassionate Allowances, usually because the applicant is suffering from a severe disability that may be life-threatening. The original Compassionate Allowances program defined 50 conditions, including many cancers and other terminal conditions, that obviously met disability standards and led to a much faster disability benefits application process. As of March 1, 2010, the SSA will add an additional 38 conditions to the Compassionate Allowances list, greatly expanding the number of people who are eligible for the program.

Although most of the conditions on the revised list are very rare, the SSA has included early-onset Alzheimer's disease as one of the new conditions, meaning that people who contract Alzheimer's before turning 65 could receive disability benefits immediately. Adding the new conditions to the initial list could result in an additional 40,000 to 50,000 new fast-tracked disability benefits approvals in 2010 alone. Social Security Administrator Michael Astrue explained that the SSA "will continue to hold hearings and look for other diseases and conditions that can be added to our list of Compassionate Allowances. There can be no higher priority than getting disability benefits quickly to those Americans with these severe and life-threatening conditions.

To read an article in the Senior Journal about the changes, click here.

To see the list of new conditions, click here.

The original 50 conditions can be found here.

Article Last Modified: 02/16/2010