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SSA adds new conditions to the Compassionate Allowance List

Some disabling diseases and conditions limit people’s ability to work and live independently. Other times, the illness or disorder is so severe that it is expected to cost the person his or her life -- and soon.

When someone has a disabling, terminal health problem, he or she does not have time to deal with the long waits commonly associated with applying for Social Security disability benefits. He or she just wants to enjoy the boost in financial security that SSD benefits provide, before it is too late.

To meet this need, the Social Security Administration keeps a Compassionate Allowances list. This is a list of severe disabilities and illnesses that the SSA realizes is likely to kill the patient before his or her application for benefits is taken care of through the normal procedure. Instead, those with a qualifying condition get put on a fast track. Around 200,000 people have received SSD benefits this way. The faster process takes “days instead of months,” the SSA says.

The SSA periodically adds to the list. So far this year, it has added 25 conditions, including 12 different forms of cancer and disorders affecting the digestive, neurological and immune systems. A spokeswoman the agency said that it expects to add new conditions every year, as doctors and the National Institutes of Health determine which terminally ill patients are entitled to compassionate allowance.

While nobody wants to die before their time, it could be comforting to many seriously disabled people that their inability to work will not leave themselves and their families unable to afford necessities.

Source: Houston Chronicle, “Prostate cancer added to disability benefits fast-track list,” Cindy George, April 21, 2014

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