The approval process can be a long one when filing for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSDI/SSI) benefits, sometimes up to a year or more from the date your application is received. This waiting period can be financially draining for anyone who is unable to work because of a disabling medical condition, but it can lead to serious hardship for applicants with severe or terminal health issues. In some cases, an individual might succumb to a debilitating medical condition while the application for Social Security disability benefits is still under review.
For these reasons, the Social Security Administration (SSA) created Compassionate Allowances. Through a specialized set of rules, the program aims to expedite claims and ensure qualifying individuals get the benefits they need faster. You may be eligible if you suffer from certain medical conditions, though the application process can be even more demanding.
A South Carolina SSDI/SSI attorney can advise you regarding Compassionate Allowances and eligibility rules, and will assist with the necessary forms. Still, you should be aware of these four facts about the program.
- There are more than 200 medical conditions on the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL).
Only the most severe ailments will appear on the CAL, since SSA only extends the expedited program to those who need benefits right away. Common examples include ALS, genetic disorders, and serious cancers like pancreatic, lung, or esophageal. Many items on the CAL will include specific criteria regarding how far the medical condition has progressed. For instance, applicants with some cancers will only be eligible if the disease has metastasized or is Stage IV.
- While faster, the Compassionate Allowance program is not instantaneous.
Even with an expedited process, SSA does need time to review your application. You can do your part to ensure that you submit complete medical evidence and an error-free application. SSA may even request further examination to ensure you meet the CAL criteria for your medical condition. There is no specific time period or rule for receiving payments through Compassionate Allowances, but you could be approved within just a few weeks.
- Other eligibility rules for SSDI/SSI still apply.
The Compassionate Allowance program does not dispense with the need to meet the non-medical eligibility criteria for disability benefits. Therefore:
- For SSDI, you still need to prove that you have the required work history within the last 10 years ending before you became disabled. Because it is an insurance program, you pay premiums contributions from the salary you earned while working.
- If you are applying for SSI benefits, your income and assets must be below a minimum threshold established by SSA.
- You do not make a special election for the Compassionate Allowance program.
SSA reviews all SSDI and SSI applications to determine which qualify for the expedited processing, so you do not need extra information to obtain approval. As long as your application includes sufficient medical documentation regarding a condition on the CAL, you can be fast-tracked. For example, if the terms “Malignant Multiple Sclerosis” or “Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with metastases”
appear in your application, it would be flagged for processing through Compassionate Allowances.
Talk to a South Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer About Eligibility
If you suffer from a medical condition that is severe enough to qualify for Compassionate Allowances, it is essential to work with a knowledgeable SSDI/SSI attorney to ensure your application goes through the expedited process. Our team at Powers Law, LLC can assess your circumstances, help with preparing forms, and advocate on your behalf before SSA. To learn more about our legal services, please contact our office in Greenwood, SC to set up a consultation.