Did you know that one in four U.S adults (61 million Americans) have a disability that impacts major life activities, according to reports in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (2018). As you can imagine this number is rising each year but thankfully, Social Security provides disability benefits to those who are too impaired to work. At times, this process can be long and difficult, and this is where Compassionate Allowance Programs intervene and make the process quicker, specifically for dire cases.
What is Compassionate Allowance?
Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and several rare disorders that affect children. Compassionate Allowance is not a program from Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income but rather a way of assisting people into other Social Security Programs.
What Conditions Qualify for Compassionate Allowance?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a list of over 200 conditions that qualify as compassionate allowances. Acting Social Security Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi has announced the addition of twelve conditions to the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Compassionate Allowance Conditions list (2021).
- Charlevoix Saguenay Spastic Ataxia (ARSACS): A rare autosomal recessive disorder resulting in cerebellar ataxia, spasticity, and sensory loss and weakness.
- Choroid Plexus Carcinoma: A rare, aggressively growing malignant cancer of the brain that invades surrounding tissue and impairs normal brain function.
- CIC-rearranged Sarcoma: A group of genetically distinct and aggressively metastatic Ewing sarcomas.
- Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS): A distinct pattern of birth defects and disabilities due to a Zika virus infection during pregnancy.
- Desmoplastic Mesothelioma: A rare and highly aggressive cancer most commonly occurring in the pleura – the membranous enclosure surrounding the lungs.
- Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – Adult: The most common of muscular dystrophies resulting in muscle weakness and wasting loss of motor skills and ambulation, and eventual heart and respiratory failure.
- Pericardial Mesothelioma: An extremely rare asbestos-related cancer originating in the pericardium – the protective membrane lining of the heart
- Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma (RHL): A non-responsive or recurrent form of cancer affecting the lymphatic system.
- Renpenning Syndrome: A disorder almost exclusively affecting males causing developmental delay, moderate to severe intellectual disability, and distinctive physical features.
- SCN8A Related Epilepsy with Encephalopathy: A rare autosomal-dominant genetic disorder affecting infants, characterized by recurrent seizures of multiple types and intellectual disability.
- SYNGAP1-related NSID: A condition primarily affecting the central nervous system due to mutations in the SYNGAP1 gene.
- Taybi-Linder Syndrome: A rare genetic disease caused by a mutation of the gene RNU4ATAC characterized by bone and central nervous system malformations, in addition to intrauterine growth retardation (IGR).
If your condition is not on the list, but it is severe enough that you think it should be. You can submit a condition through the SSA's website.
How Long Does It Take to Get Compassionate Disability?
Payments aren't instant.
However, most applicants do not have to wait long for their payments to start—most receive Compassionate Allowance benefits from a few weeks to 2 months after the application is received.
How to File for Disability with Compassionate Allowance?
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.
Substantial Gainful Activity is a measurement used by the Social Security Administration to determine the amount of work you can perform.
If your condition is on the Social Security disability compassionate allowances list, make sure that your application clearly states this. The SSA has systems which is designed to automatically place applicants who qualify for compassionate allowances ahead of other applicants to ensure that their cases are handled quicker.
If you are clearly disabled, yet your condition does not qualify you for a compassionate allowance, you may consider attempting to file for a Quick Disability Determination (QDD).
Quick Disability Determination is a process that uses a computer-based predictive model to screen the initial application to identify cases that have obvious disabilities which clearly hinder a worker in New York City from employment.
If you feel that you may qualify for disability benefits, it is wise to consult with a disability attorney. An SSD attorney is an irreplaceable resource in any case, but especially those that involve Compasionate Allowances.
Feel Free to Call Our Social Security Disability Attorneys to Schedule a Free Virtual Consultation!
At O'Connor Law PLLC, our Social Security Disability Attorneys have helped countless individuals obtain the benefits they need and deserve. Please contact our office today to schedule an initial free consultation to discuss your claim with a member of our legal team without any obligation.