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New Conditions Added to Social Security's Compassionate Allowances List

Recently, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue announced the addition of 12 conditions to the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Compassionate Allowances list. This will help individuals with great need for assistance get Social Security benefits faster than the typical application process takes.

According to the SSA, Compassionate Allowances help the agency and individuals applying for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits quickly identify diseases and medical conditions that, by definition, satisfy the agency's requirements for disability benefits. The main conditions on the list are cancers, adult brain disorders and uncommon disorders that affect children.

The new additions to the Compassionate Allowances list are:

  • Aortic Atresia
  • Eisenmenger Syndrome
  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis
  • Heart transplant graft failure
  • Heart transplant wait list - 1A/1B
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD) recipient
  • Mitral Valve Atresia
  • Primary Cardiac Amyloidosis
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Single Ventricle

There are 100 conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list, which can be viewed at the SSA's website.

The Compassionate Allowances provision and the Quick Disability Determination process are two ways the SSA expedites certain Social Security disability claims. In 2010, the SSA approved more than 100,000 claims through these systems with an average wait time of about two weeks, which is significantly shorter than average wait of longer than a year for other Social Security disability benefits applications.

After working with experts and holding multiple public hearings to develop the Compassionate Allowances list, the agency has identified other ways the application process can be improved for people with Compassionate Allowances conditions, such as removing the work history portion of the application.

In announcing the addition of the 12 conditions to the Compassionate Allowances list, Commissioner Astrue said the agency reached a "significant milestone," and emphasized the agency's obligation to quickly award Social Security disability benefits to people with medical conditions so serious they clearly meet the disability standards.

These added Compassionate Allowances conditions will likely result in an increase in applications for Social Security disability benefits. With the expedited programs, though, hopefully the expected uptick in applications will not lengthen the amount of time it takes for people with severe disabilities to get the benefits they need.

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