Compassionate Allowances for SSA Disability

North Carolina Disability Social Security Attorney - Bishop Law Firm
By Kimberly BishopOctober 26, 2014

This post discusses Compassionate Allowances for SSA Disability. Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are how Social Security quickly identifies claimants that qualify under the Listings. In most cases, the Listings are difficult to meet, thus these claimants must have severe medical conditions.

Social Security Disability

Social Security offers two types of benefits for the disabled generally, Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). After you apply for benefits, your case will be sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS) (or your state's equivalent) where an examiner will use a five step sequential evaluation process to determine if you are disabled. The Listings are Social Security's list of conditions that qualify a claimant for benefits under Step 3 of the sequential evaluation.

What is a SSA Compassionate Allowance?

SSA maintains an evolving list of medical conditions that qualify an applicant to receive expedited handling of their disability claim.  SSA's complete list of Compassionate Allowances is found here. According to SSA, this list primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. Of note is the requirement for many types of cancer (adrenal, bladder, breast, head and neck, large intestine, non-small cell, bone, ovarian, stomach, ureter . . .) to involve metastases. In short, your cancer must have spread from where it started to another area of the body. Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS)  is also on the compassionate allowance list.

Unfortunately, conditions on the Compassionate Allowance list often cause severe pain and can result in premature death. The nature of these conditions is so devastating that SSA wants to try to help those diagnosed get on disability benefits as soon as possible.

How do I apply for a SSD Disability Compassionate Allowance?

The application process for people with a condition on the Compassionate Allowance list is the same for any other person applying for Social Security Disability. After you have filed your Social Security Disability application, a determination will be made if your case needs to be fast tracked. Informing SSA of your condition in all contact you have with them will help your case be designated as a compassionate allowance if your condition is on the Compassionate Allowance List.

How much is a SSA Compassionate Allowance?

As discussed above, SSA offers SSDI and/or SSI benefits. The monthly check that you receive from SSA will be the same, even if you are approved as a Compassionate Allowance.

Is there still a five-month waiting period even if my case is approved as a Compassionate Allowance?

Yes, there is still a five-month waiting period to receive benefits even for those who are approved as Compassionate Allowances (unless you have Lou Gehrig's Disease). This is one of my biggest qualms with Social Security. Why give expedited processing but still apply the five month waiting period?  But, unfortunately, this is the law (for now).

In my experience, SSA does a decent job of identifying Compassionate Allowance cases. Claimants whose case is identified as a Compassionate Allowance at the initial or reconsideration level receive expedited processing of their claims. The problem arises when a person has the symptoms of a disease but has not received a formal diagnosis. Another issue is for those whose diagnosis comes during the wait for their hearing. Medical records of the diagnosis should be obtained as soon as possible and forwarded to the hearing office that has the claim. In addition, a phone call to that office informing them that this case should be flagged a Compassionate Allowance is imperative.

Compassionate Allowances for SSA Disability claims are available for those that presumably meet the Listings. As mentioned above, Listings, in most cases, are difficult to meet. If you feel that you or someone you know meets a Compassionate Allowance Listing and are not receiving expedited processing for your claim, give The Bishop Law Firm a call today. We handle cases in Raleigh, Cary, Durham and surrounding areas in North Carolina.

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