According to the Council for Disability Awareness, 8.8 million Americans qualified for SSD benefits in 2012. Reports also indicate that the number of people who become disabled is growing. It is estimated that out of every 4 people in their 20’s today, one of those people will suffer from a disabling condition before that person reaches the age of 65.
For people in Illinois, and elsewhere, whose medical condition is listed on the Social Security Administration’s compassionate allowances conditions, they are placed into an accelerated approval program to receive Social Security Disability benefits sooner. At the beginning of this year, the Social Security Administration announced that it was expanding its list of compassionate allowances conditions. The agency stated it was “dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program” and that “Social Security Disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases.”
Standard for disability
Since the program’s inception in 2008, close to 200,000 people have been able to receive approval for disability benefits at a faster rate than other applicants. Now, people with the following conditions will also be able to take advantage of this accelerated program:
- Prostate cancer – cancer associated with men that occurs in the prostate
- Joubert syndrome – a disorder that affects the brain, causing problems with balance and coordination
- Seckel syndrome – a form of dwarfism
- Soft Tissue Sarcoma – cancer that affects soft tissues such as fat, lymph vessels, nerves, muscles and tendons
- Marshall-Smith syndrome – a condition where bones age faster than they should and victims struggle with respiratory problems and other symptoms.
- Angiosarcoma – a cancer that attacks the inner lining of blood vessels
In all, the SSA has added 25 new health conditions to the compassionate allowances program, increasing the total list to 200 disorders. These disorders are considered severe enough that the disability is evident. Therefore, the SSA does not require applicants with one of the disorders on the list to submit their entire work history. This allows the SSA to approve the application within days or weeks instead of months.
Qualifying for the compassionate allowances program
To qualify for the compassionate allowances program, applicants simply submit the regular application for SSD and list their condition. If the condition is on the list, the SSA staff will automatically place it into an accelerated approval process. Applicants should provide as much information as they can about their information along with medical documentation such as test results, doctors’ statements, hospital stays and treatments.
Applying for SSD benefits can be a complicated process and it is not uncommon for applications to be denied over a technical error. To increase their chances for approval, applicants should seek the assistance of an experienced SSD attorney.