Compassionate Allowances

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Money in envelope.Through its compassionate allowances initiative, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) ensures that those people who apply for disability benefits and who have conditions that are obviously disabling based upon objective medical information receive their benefits quickly.
The SSA uses compassionate allowances (“CAL”) to quickly identify and process claims that involve certain diseases and disabilities that routinely qualify as disabling in order to get benefits to those people as soon as possible.
Simply put, CAL claims are put on a “fast track” by the SSA so that a decision is made quickly.

Application for Compassionate Allowances

There is no special way to apply for CALs.  A person applying for disability benefits who has a disease or disability listed on the CAL list should apply using the regular application.  There is nothing additional or special that needs to be done to apply for a CAL.  The SSA identifies applications for CAL status internally.

Compassionate Allowances List

The SSA publishes a list of diseases and conditions that automatically qualify an applicant for a CAL.  The SSA’s complete CAL list is here.
The following are examples of diseases and conditions that qualify for CAL:

  • Many types of cancers;
  • Alpers disease;
  • Canavan disease;
  • Joubert syndrome;
  • Leigh’s disease;
  • Mixed dementias;
  • Many brain diseases;
  • Many heart diseases;
  • Wolman disease;
  • Degos disease – systemic;
  • Fatal familial insomnia;
  • Fryns syndrome; and
  • Hydranencephaly.

Processing Time for CAL Claims

A decision will be made on a claim that involves a CAL disease or disorder by the SSA within weeks, as opposed to months or years for a standard, non-CAL claim.  The time it takes for the SSA to make a decision with regard to a CAL claim depends on how quickly the SSA receives needed information and documents from the claimant’s doctor or medical treatment facility, whether the SSA decides a medical examination is necessary to provide it with evidence to support the claim, and whether the claim is randomly selected for review of the decision for quality assurance purposes.
A CAL Claim Does Not Entitle the Claimant to Any Additional Money
Having a disease or condition that is on the SSA CAL list does not entitle the claimant to any additional money.  In other words, a claimant with a CAL disease or condition is entitled only to those monies provided for by the Social Security disability program.
Speak with a Social Security Disability Attorney Now
If you suffer from a disease or condition listed on the SSA’s CAL list, and particularly if your claim has been denied by SSA, you should speak with J. Robert Surface, an experienced Social Security disability attorney.   He will assist you with your claim.  He has the experience and knowledge to ensure that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled.  

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