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How the SSA's Compassionate Allowances initiative helps the truly ill -- II

In a post last week, our blog began discussing how applicants are sometimes surprised to learn that the process of receiving benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program can take months or even years, and how this reality can be beyond frustrating for financially distressed individuals suffering from medical conditions that are at best completely debilitating.

We also began discussing, however, how those people in this unenviable position who would otherwise clearly satisfy the agency's disability standards can actually see the processing of their applications expedited thanks to what is known as the Compassionate Allowances initiative.

CAL conditions

While a complete listing of the medical conditions that would qualify an applicant for expedited processing under the CAL initiative is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, some of the more noteworthy conditions include liver cancer, Lewy body dementia, malignant melanoma and obliterative bronchiolitis. 

The Social Security Administration updates the list of qualifying CAL conditions on an annual basis following consideration of a large volume of information provided by experts in both the public and private sector.

Applying for SSDI benefits via the CAL initiative

If a person is suffering from a qualifying CAL condition, they do not need to file a special application or form. Rather, he or she will apply just like anyone else for SSDI benefits, leaving it to SAA officials to identify their CAL condition and initiate fast track processing. It's important to note, however, that the SSA does not provide applicants with notice that their application is being expedited under the CAL initiative.

Two other important points for persons diagnosed with a CAL condition to keep in mind include:

  • They are not entitled to any additional SSDI benefits owing to their CAL condition.
  • Their applications will be processed in a matter of weeks, but this can vary depending on such factors as the speed with which requested medical evidence can be secured from treating professionals, the need for a medical examination and whether the claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review.

Here's hoping the foregoing information proved helpful. Please remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have questions about disability benefits, particularly if your initial claim has been denied.

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Mr. McKellar was voted by his peers as a “Top Attorney” by Knoxville’s CityView magazine in its 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 editions. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Mr. McKellar was selected as a member of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the National Trial Lawyers.

Ms. Easter was voted by her peers as a “Top Attorney” in Cityview Magazine for Family Law / Divorce / Child Support in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

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