SSA adding to its list of compassionate allowances

In their continuing efforts to improve the efficiency of the Social Security disability system for those who have the most obviously debilitating or terminal conditions, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has recently added twelve more conditions to its Compassionate Allowances Listings.

Compassionate Allowances were first introduced in 2009 as a means of fast tracking applicants who had medically verifiable conditions which, by their very nature, always qualify an applicant for Social Security disability benefits. The initial listings included 50 conditions, half of which were cancers. Since then, the SSA has added to the listings twice. In February, 2010, 38 conditions were added, and in July 2011, another twelve were added.

The purpose of the program is to make sure that applicants who have the most serious, degenerative, or life threatening conditions aren’t tied up for months or year fighting for benefits to which they are clearly entitled. Rather than spending six months or more waiting for an approval, those who qualify for a Compassionate Allowance Listing can expect their benefits to be approved in less than three weeks.

The most recent additions include:

  • Tricuspid Atresia - A congenital heart defect. This condition is present at birth.
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome - A rare birth defect in which the left side of the heart does not develop properly.
  • Single Ventricle - A birth defect in which only one ventricle is formed, instead of two.
  • Heart Transplant Wait List 1A or 1B - Applicants who are status 1A or 1B are in intensive care, often requiring intravenous medication to sustain life which waiting for a heart transplant. They include the top 2 categories in regards to priority for a heart transplant. Those receiving organ transplants have long been automatically qualified for Social Security disability benefits, but this will expedite the process before the transplant has been received.
  • Pulmonary Atresia - A birth defect in which the pulmonary valve is malformed.
  • Eisenmenger Syndrome - A conditions which affects the blood flow between the heart and the lungs.
  • Left Ventricle Assist Device Recipients - Those who have received an implanted heart device in the left ventrical.
  • Aortic Atresia - A birth defect in which the opening to the left ventricle is closed or missing.
  • Mitral Valve Atresia - A defect in which the valve connecting the two left chambers of the heart is closed, disallowing blood flow between them.
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis - A rare form of cancer affecting the heart.
  • Heart Transplant Graft Failure. When a heart transplant recipient’s body rejects the new heart.
  • Primary Cardiac Amyloidosis - Characterized by a buildup of Amyloid proteins in the heart, this condition makes it difficult for the heart to work properly.

The new additions follow a series of open meetings in February of 2011 which were held by the SSA Commissioner regarding which cardiovascular conditions should qualify for compassionate allowance listings. With the addition of these 12 conditions, the total number of qualifying conditions has been raised to 100.

While being diagnosed with any condition which qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance is certainly not good news, it may be comforting for those who have received these diagnoses to know that they will have no trouble qualifying for Social Security disability benefits.