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Understanding compassionate allowance SSDI claims

Many people in Missouri are aware that applications for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits can take months or even years to be approved or rejected. In recognition of this fact, the Social Security Administration has established the "CAL" program to expedite the approval process for certain kinds of SSD claims based on serious illnesses.

The SSA has recognized that certain diseases and other medical conditions produce symptoms that are almost certain to be included on the agency's Listing of Impairments, i.e. diseases and illnesses that automatically qualify a person for SSDI benefits. The SSA has published a list of diseases that qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. Illnesses on the CAL list generally produce a qualifying disability that satisfies the requirements for an award of disability benefits.

The list is very long and includes several kinds of cancers, severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, early-onset Alzheimer's disease, heart transplant failure and other diseases whose outcome is almost certain to cause permanent total disability or death. People who have a qualifying condition may wish to consider asking for Compassionate Allowance treatment of their claims. Claims that qualify for CAL status may receive a decision within weeks, instead of months or years.

The SSA is continually seeking information about medical conditions that may qualify for the CAL program. The list of qualifying conditions is frequently updated and should be checked for recent additions.

While an application for CAL treatment is not significantly different from a standard application for SSDI benefits, the assistance of a lawyer who specializes in SSDI claims may be useful. A knowledgeable lawyer can help assemble necessary medical and employment information that the SSA will need to make a decision.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Compassionate Allowances," accessed on Dec. 25, 2016

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