The Expansion of the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance Program

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Social Security disability benefits are available to qualifying individuals who are suffering from severe medical impairments. These benefits can be a critical resource for those struggling financially due to medical conditions preventing individuals from retaining gainful employment. While these benefits can provide much-needed support to disabled individuals across the country, they can be quite difficult to obtain and this is not to mention the fact that the process for obtaining benefits can be quite lengthy. When you lack income and resources due to a disability, time is very much of the essence. A delay in receiving benefits can have a significantly adverse impact on your financial situation and put undue stress on your already struggling health. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance program provides a streamlined process for obtaining benefits for those individuals suffering from particularly severe medical conditions. Recently, the Compassionate Allowance has even been expanded to include more qualifying medical conditions.

The Expansion of the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance Program

The Compassionate Allowance program establishes an obligation for the SSA to quickly grant disability benefits to applicants with certain specified medical conditions. The conditions listed pursuant to the Compassionate Allowance program are those which are deemed to be so severe in nature that the medical diagnosis of the condition in and of itself is enough to meet the SSA definition of disability. This means that the qualifying condition is quickly identified as one which would qualify a person for benefits. 

This past year, the SSA has added 12 new conditions to the list of conditions that qualify for the Compassionate Allowances program. The 12 new conditions include:

  • Charlevoix Saguenay Spastic Ataxia (ARSACS)
  • Choroid Plexus Carcinoma
  • CIC-rearranged Sarcoma
  • Congenital Zika Syndrome
  • Desmoplastic Mesothelioma
  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (adult)
  • Pericardial Mesothelioma
  • Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Renpenning Syndrome
  • SCN8AP1-related NSID
  • Taybi-Linder Syndrome

While participation in the Compassionate Allowance program may speed up the disability benefits process, claimants still must comply with certain application requirements. For instance, applicants must undergo a medical evaluation to determine benefit eligibility. The Social Security Administration (SSA) must have the applicant’s relevant medical records as well as a statement from the applicant’s doctor or a qualified medical examiner. To help expedite the process, claimants should notify medical providers that they are pursuing Social Security disability benefits and immediate attention is needed for any requests sent by the SSA.

Despite the requirements of the application process for those seeking participation in the Compassionate Allowance program, the process will still move significantly faster than those applicants outside of the program. Months or years may pass before an applicant is granted disability benefits, but those in the Compassionate Allowance program may begin receiving benefits within weeks of an application’s submission. There may be some delay if a claimant is selected for quality review, but the process should still move forward with significantly greater speed.

Los Angeles Disability Attorney

If you have questions about the Compassionate Allowance program or the disability benefits process in general, you can reach out to Disability Advocates for answers. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.