Slepian Smith, PLLC

Four disorders added to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances list

It is no secret that it can take months and even years for approval of Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claims. Both of these government benefit programs require that the applicant meet the federal definition of disability and it is this question that often takes so long to answer.

It tends to be more time-consuming for the Social Security Administration, the federal agency known as the SSA, to determine disability when impairments have more subjective symptoms that are harder to measure or establish like pain, fatigue, weakness, nausea, dizziness, difficulty with concentration, confusion and others as well as mental disorders.

But about a decade ago, the SSA started a program called Compassionate Allowances, or CAL, to speed up those applications where the particular diagnoses were so severe that claimants could automatically be found disabled once medical evidence is submitted that establishes the impairments.

Anyone with a CAL impairment should take care to submit the medical evidence the SSA requires to prove the disease in question. Sometimes, the SSA mandates that a claimant have a particular result on a lab test, for example, so the lab results would need to be submitted to meet the CAL requirements.

The SSA issued a news release on Aug. 19 announcing the addition of four new CAL conditions:

  • CDKL5 deficiency disorder: A genetic disorder that develops in infancy, causing seizures and severe mental and physical developmental disabilities
  • Pitt-Hopkins syndrome: A rare developmental disability with a genetic cause, characterized by breathing difficulties, seizures, moderate to severe intellectual disability and other symptoms
  • Primary peritoneal cancer: Also called PPC, this rare cancer develops in the peritoneum, a tissue that lines the abdominal cavity and organs within it
  • Richter syndrome: Aggressive lymphoma that develops after a diagnosis of CLL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia

The SSA accepts suggestions online from the public of new diseases and medical conditions for consideration for the CAL list. Currently, there are more than 200 CAL impairments.

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