Compassionate Allowance

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative first went into effect in 2008, mandating that Social Security Disability programs be made immediately available to those with conditions which automatically qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. This results in many applicants receiving approval in just a few days rather than the three months to a year which is typical for SSDI and SSI applicants.

Originally, the program covered 50 diseases, including mostly rare diseases and various forms of aggressive cancer. In 2010, the list was expanded to include 38 more conditions. The added conditions include several types of cancer, rare diseases, various forms of dementia including early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia. A complete listing is available at the Social Security Administration’s website.

Currently, about 4% of Social Security Disability applicants qualify for the Compassionate Allowance Initiative. Claimants’ applications are automatically screened by the Social Security Administration’s computer systems for the qualifying conditions based on:

  • Medical conditions, including alternate names for qualifying conditions.
  • Medications which indicate the potential for a qualifying condition.
  • Work history, age, and other personal information.

The conditions on the Compassionate Allowance Initiative list are generally considered to be so obviously debilitating that those who have them can be assumed to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits as long as their work history (for SSDI) or income and asset levels (for SSI) don’t disqualify them. The list of accepted Compassionate Allowance Initiative conditions is expected to be expanded further as the SSA continues to consult with Medical and scientific to evaluate which disability conditions merit inclusion.

If you believe your medical or mental condition may qualify you for the Compassionate Allowance Initiative and you have not yet received notice that you have been approved for Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Administration or check the current list of qualifying conditions on their website. Many of the conditions (though not all) approved for the Compassionate Allowance Initiative are aggressive in nature, and having the benefits process expedited can help you receive Social Security Disability benefits while you are still living.