Slepian Smith, PLLC

Compassionate Allowances can expedite your disability decision

Qualifying for disability benefits is often more complicated than people expect. One major obstacle people typically face is proving that a condition does in fact meet the Social Security Administration's definition of disability. This is because most conditions and illnesses have varying degrees of severity and may or may not be disabling.

However, there are conditions that the SSA can more quickly identify as disabling because they are usually life-threatening and among the most severe types of illnesses. These conditions are collectively referred to as Compassionate Allowances.

Why is the Compassionate Allowances distinction important?

The Compassionate Allowances program, or CAL, makes it easier and faster for the SSA to make decisions on disability benefits. The SSA can quickly identify claims involving certain illnesses and conditions, make decisions and get benefits to qualified applicants faster.

What are some CAL conditions?

Currently, there are more than 225 CAL conditions, including:

  • Numerous types of cancer
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease
  • Early-onset Alzheimer's
  • Mixed dementia
  • Highest-priority patients on the heart transplant list
  • Numerous children's and adolescent conditions, including Freidreich's ataxia, juvenile onset Huntington's disease and Tay Sachs disease
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Transplant coronary artery vasculopathy

A full list can be found on the SSA website.

It is crucial to understand that having these conditions does not mean disability benefits are guaranteed. Parties must still submit a valid application and provide the necessary medical evidence proving the severity of their condition. Failure to complete these or any other step in the process could mean a denied or delayed claim and loss of benefits.

There are no certainties when it comes to qualifying for disability benefits. When a person is suffering from a condition identified in the CAL program, however, the claim may be processed faster.

Consulting an attorney experienced in navigating the Social Security system can also aid in the application process, as it can help people avoid costly mistakes and assumptions that could jeopardize benefits.

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