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How the SSA picks Compassionate Allowances and why it's important

Many people in New York know firsthand how long the Social Security disability process can be. It can take months to hear back from SSA officials after submitting a claim. This can be problematic because some people who are seeking disability benefits need financial assistance quickly. For this reason, the Social Security Administration created the Compassionate Allowances program.

For those who have not heard of it, the Compassionate Allowances program allows the applications of individuals who have certain serious conditions to be expedited through the process. After the SSA added 25 conditions to the list earlier this year, the total number of conditions for which a claim can be expedited is 225.

The SSA adds new conditions to the Compassionate Allowances list fairly regularly. In 2012, it added 35 conditions to the list. To determine what conditions should be added, SSA officials consult the National Institutes of Health for new information on serious conditions. They also work with medical experts and collect feedback from the public. Today, the Compassionate Allowances list includes several types of cancer along with more rare conditions like Joubert Syndrome.

If you live with a disability or a debilitating condition that has left you unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Before you apply, it is a good idea to take a look at the Compassionate Allowances list to see if you qualify. If so, you could get an answer in weeks rather than months. Because the SSD process can be complicated, however, it may be helpful to work with an attorney who can help make sure you submit a complete application that gives you best the chance of being approved for benefits.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Elder Law: Expanded Compassionate Allowances list reduces SSA applicant wait time," April 14, 2014

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