Social Security Compassionate Allowance

Compassionate Allowances | Social Security Lawyers

SSDI Alternatives for those Suffering from Debilitating Ailments

Social Security Disability, while an important benefit, is also notoriously difficult to obtain. The process of getting approved for disability can take months and is often frustrating to those suffering from true medical conditions that make working impossible. However, some medical conditions are considered to be so severe that even the government recognizes that quicker action must be taken, and an alternative to the traditional Social Security Disability application process, known as Compassionate Allowances, exists.

Our Morristown Social Security Disability lawyers at The Terry Law Firm have helped clients apply for and receive benefits for more than 50 years, and are here to assist you.

Compassionate allowances are for those who have:

  • Rare diseases
  • Cancers
  • Other debilitating ailments

Compassionate Allowance List

Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security offices to quickly identify the most disabled individuals who have such severe medical conditions that only minimal objective medical information is needed to establish their existence. Unlike the traditional process, Compassionate Allowances allow qualifying individuals to “fast track” through the application, and people who meet the criteria can be approved much more quickly in recognition of the severity of their ailments.

In order to qualify for Compassionate Allowances, you must have one of the 88 rare diseases or cancers on the current CAL list:

  • Acute Leukemia
  • Adrenal Cancer
  • Alexander Disease (ALX)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer
  • Astrocytoma
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Bone Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Canavan Disease (CD)
  • Cerebro Oculo Facio Skeletal (COFS) Syndrome
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)
  • Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Tumor)
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Farber’s Disease (FD)
  • Friedreich’s Ataxia (FRDA)
  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
  • Picks Disease
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Gaucher Disease (GD) – Type 2
  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (Brain Tumor)
  • Head and Neck Cancers
  • Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD)
  • Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Krabbe Disease (KD)
  • Large Intestine Cancer
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (LNS)
  • Liver Cancer
  • Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
  • Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD)
  • Niemann-Pick Disease (NPD) – Type A
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) Deficiency
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) – Type II
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Peritoneal Mesothelioma
  • Pleural Mesothelioma
  • Pompe Disease – Infantile
  • Rett (RTT) Syndrome
  • Salivary Tumors
  • Sandhoff Disease
  • Small Cell Cancer (of the Large Intestine, Ovary, Prostate, or Uterus)
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Small Intestine Cancer
  • Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) – Types 0 And 1
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Ureter Cancer
  • Alstrom Syndrome
  • Amegakaryocytic Thrombocytopenia
  • Ataxia Spinocerebellar
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia
  • Batten Disease
  • Bilateral Retinoblastoma
  • Cri-du-Chat Syndrome
  • Degos Disease
  • Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Edwards Syndrome
  • Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
  • Fukuyama Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
  • Glutaric Acidemia Type II
  • Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), Familial Type
  • Hurler Syndrome, Type IH
  • Hunter Syndrome, Type II
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
  • Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa, Lethal Type
  • Late Infantile Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses
  • Leigh’s Disease
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease
  • Merosin Deficient Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Mucosal Malignant Melanoma
  • Neonatal Adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses, Infantile Type
  • Niemann-Pick Type C
  • Patau Syndrome
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy
  • Sanfilippo Syndrome
  • Subacute Sclerosis Panencephalitis
  • Tay Sachs Disease
  • Thanatophoric Dysplasia, Type 1
  • Ullrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
  • Walker Warburg Syndrome
  • Wolman Disease
  • Zellweger Syndrome

If you have one of the diseases listed on the Compassionate Allowances impairment list, you do need to complete the Social Security Disability application, and you should let your claims processor know that you have one of the conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list. Not all employees of the SSA are familiar with the list, and you want to be sure your condition is flagged for review by those who do understand the program.

Contact Our Morristown Social Security Disability Lawyers Today

If you need assistance with a Social Security Disability claim, our Morristown attorneys at The Terry Law Firm are ready to help. We know what documents to file, how to file, and the right steps to get claims approved. Call us now at (423) 586-5800 and schedule your free initial consultation.

Social Security Disability

Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits?

Social Security will pay you benefits if you cannot work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in your death. This description is the federal government’s definition for disability and will be used to determine whether your situation qualifies you for disability benefits. The definition limits the disability payments to long-term only and does not give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability. Primarily, if you have paid enough in Social Security taxes – at least half of the working quarters since you turned 21 years of age – you are eligible to file a claim for Social Security Disability if you become disabled.

To get disability benefits, in addition to meeting the disabled definition, you must also meet two different earnings criteria:

  1. A “recent work” test based on your age at the time you became disabled; and
  2. A “duration of work” test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.

Who decides if my disability entitles me to SSDI?

The Social Security office will review your application to determine whether you worked enough years to qualify and to assess the level of your current work activities. If you meet these criteria, your application will be passed on to the Disability Determination Services office in your state which completes the disability decision for the Social Security office.

The state agency will ask your doctors and specialists for information about your condition and will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information.

Specifically, they will ask the medical team for the following information:

  • What your medical condition is
  • When your medical condition began
  • How your medical condition limits your activities
  • What the medical tests have shown
  • What treatment you have received

In addition to the above, they also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled. Additional medical information may be needed before a final decision can be made. It is possible that the state agency will ask you to go for a special examination. Although the preference is to use your current doctor, the exam may be conducted by another qualified physician.

How long will my application process take?

According to the Social Security Administration the length of time it takes to receive a decision on your disability claim can take from three to five months.

It can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on:

  • The nature of your disability;
  • How quickly medical evidence is obtained from your doctor or other medical source;
  • Whether it is necessary to send you for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim; and
  • If your claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision.

Is there an alternative to the full application process?

Yes. The Social Security Disability Insurance has an initiative called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). This is a process whereby the Social Security office can provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. There are 88 qualifying rare diseases and cancers on the list. Compassionate allowances allow the office to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments, based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate allowances allow Social Security to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals and get their benefits to them.

Is my family eligible to receive benefits?

It is possible that certain members of your family qualify for benefits based on your condition and your previous work.

Those family members include:

  • Your spouse, if he or she is 62 or older
  • Your spouse, at any age if he or she is caring for a child of yours who is younger than age 16 or disabled
  • Your unmarried child, including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild or grandchild. The child must be under age 18 or under age 19 if in elementary or secondary school full time
  • Your unmarried child, age 18 or older, if he or she has a disability that started before age 22. (The child’s disability also must meet the definition of disability for adults.)
  • Your divorced spouse may qualify for benefits based on your earnings if he or she was married to you for at least 10 years, is not currently married and is at least age 62. The money paid to a divorced spouse does not reduce your benefit or any benefits due to your current spouse or children.