What is a Compassionate Allowance and how do I qualify for the Compassionate Allowance program?

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative was a program begun in 2008 to expedite the application process for Social Security Disability claims for those who are obviously qualified to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The program originally listed 50 conditions which qualified applicants to qualify for Compassionate Allowance. Most of these conditions were rare diseases, certain aggressive forms of cancer, and dementia-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease(particularly early-onset Alzheimer’s).

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative program was started, because some conditions by definition, qualify the applicants for disability benefits. The program was put into effect in large part because disabled people often lose their medical insurance when they lose their ability to work, forcing them to live without medical insurance when they are in need of them. People with permanent disabilities, particularly those which are likely to be fatal, simply cannot be expected to wait for months (or even years) while a Social Security Disability claim makes its way through the appeals process.

The Compassionate Allowance program shortens the amount of time needed to process Social Security Disability claims significantly. If you are found to have a condition which qualifies you for the program, you will be notified, and the approval process will generally only take a few days, as opposed to the lengthy process most Social Security Disability applicants must go through.

When applying for disability benefits you should make sure that all medical conditions which contribute to your inability to work are documented and included in your claim. Additionally, you should update your file if the severity of your condition has changed or if you are diagnosed with any additional conditions.
If your condition qualifies for the Compassionate Allowance program, your file should be automatically placed into the Compassionate Allowance program. If you suspect that you may have a qualifying condition, and you have not been notified that you qualify for the Compassionate Allowance program, the first thing you should do is check the most current list of qualifying conditions.

As of December 2010, there are 88 conditions which qualify you for a Compassionate Allowance. These conditions range from terminal illnesses to mental conditions. More conditions are being considered, and it’s a good idea to check the list periodically to see if your condition has been added to those which automatically qualify for Social Security Disability.

If you have a condition which is listed as an accepted condition for a Compassionate Allowance and you have not been informed that your file has been placed within the Compassionate Allowance program, contact the Social Security Administration (SSA). If you don’t receive satisfactory results by contacting the SSA, consider consulting with a qualified Social Security Disability attorney.

In most cases, however, if you qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, you will not need to do much fighting or appealing. The program is designed to catch those who have qualifying conditions and place them on the fast track to receiving Social Security Disability benefits without any need for the claimant to do anything beyond the initial application process.

You will want to make sure that your condition is fully documented by a doctor. Having the right paperwork and medical documentation on file will help further expedite the Social Security Disability application process. Although Compassionate Allowance disability claims have a higher approval rate than regular disability claims, there are numerous things that can go wrong when applying for disability benefits. Statistics have shown that claimants working with a disability lawyer are more likely to have their Compassionate Allowance disability claim approved.