The Social Security Administration (SSA) is in the process of compiling and updating a list of conditions which automatically qualify you as disabled.
The current list is comprised primarily of certain cancers, dementia disorders, and rare diseases which are expected to be terminal or which otherwise clearly cause those who suffer from them to be disqualified according to the SSA’s disability standards.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you must be completely disabled. That is, you must be unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity due to your disability.
Furthermore, the disability must be expected to last for at least a year or to end in your death.
What Are Compassionate Allowances?
Compassionate allowances are made for conditions which clearly meet those criteria. As of 2016, there are over 200 conditions which qualify for a compassionate allowance.
The SSA is considering other conditions which may meet the qualifications for compassionate allowances, and they periodically update the list of accepted conditions. Therefore, even if your condition does not currently qualify you for a compassionate allowance, you may want to check the SSA’s website periodically.
If your disabling condition is on the Social Security disability compassionate allowances list, you will want to make certain that your application for Social Security disability benefits clearly states this.
The SSA has systems in force which are designed to automatically place applicants who qualify for compassionate allowances ahead of other applicants to ensure that their cases are handled expeditiously.
How Are Compassionate Allowance Claims Handled?
If you have a condition on the compassionate allowances list, and haven’t heard anything about your Social Security disability claim within one month of your application, contact your SSA office directly and inquire about your claim.
Alternately, you could contact a Social Security disability attorney or representative to handle your claim for you.
While most compassionate allowance cases are relatively quick and fairly straight forward, a qualified Social Security disability lawyer can still help you set up your application to ensure that you are entered into the compassionate allowances program.
It bears repeating that conditions which qualify for a compassionate allowance tend to be debilitating to the point that further medical diagnosis is not needed for the SSA to determine that you are no longer able to perform any kind of significant work.
If you are clearly disabled (by the SSA’s definition), yet your condition does not qualify you for a compassionate allowance, you may consider attempting to file for a QDD (Quick Disability Determination).
A QDD is used in cases where the applicant has an obvious disability which clearly hinders him or her from maintaining gainful employment, but which does not qualify him or her for a compassionate allowance.
Consult a Social Security Disability representative if you find you are not eligible for a compassionate allowance but think you may qualify for a QDD.
Next Steps to Take
For those qualifying for a compassionate allowance (or QDD), the wait time to start receiving Social Security disability benefits is significantly reduced.
Whereas most Social Security Disability claims take several months (and often more than a year) to make it through the system, the SSA really does make what efforts it can to ensure that those who qualify for compassionate allowances are approved quickly and efficiently.
If you have a condition that qualifies for the compassionate allowance program, regardless of what stage your condition is in (unless the listed condition mentions what stage it must be in to qualify), apply for Social Security disability benefits right away, and make sure that your condition is clearly documented and supported by your physician’s statement. Doing so ensures that you will begin receiving your Social Security disability payments in a timely manner.