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Social Security Administration’s Expansion of the Compassionate Allowances (CA) Program

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SSA Logo 1Earlier this month, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a statement about its intentions to expansion the conditions listed under the Compassionate Allowances (CA) program.  The Compassionate Allowances program assists in speeding up the decision-making process of approving and denying disability claims for those seeking disability benefits.  The Compassionate Allowances program’s aim is to issue disability benefits decisions within days, instead of months and years as experienced by many prospective disability beneficiaries in the past.

This month, 25 new conditions will be added to the Compassionate Allowances program list of disorders and illnesses.  These new additions consists of a dozen cancers, as well as disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, and immune systems.  The acting Commissioner of Social Security, Carolyn W. Colvin, stated the following about the new additions to the program:

We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program.  Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.

(Excerpt from the Social Security Announces New Compassionate Allowances Conditions press release.)

The Compassionate Allowances program distinguishes claims of prospective disability beneficiaries whose medical conditions clearly aligns with the Social Security Administration’s statutory standard of disability.  Through the use of technology, the Administration currently has the ability to recognize medical conditions and disorders that would qualify under the Compassionate Allowances program, which will allow the disability claims filing process to run smoother.  So far, close to 200,000 individuals with severe disabilities has been approved for disability benefits through this process.

Here is a list of the 25 aforementioned conditions now listed under the program:

  1. Angiosarcoma
  2. Atypical Teratoid / Rhabdoid Tumor
  3. Chronic Idiopathic Intestinal Pseudo Obstruction
  4. Coffin-Lowry Syndrome
  5. Esthesioneuroblastoma
  6. Giant Axonal Neuropathy
  7. Hoyeaal-Hreidarsson Syndrome
  8. Intracranial Hemangiopericytoma
  9. Joubert Syndrome
  10. Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis
  11. Liposarcoma – metastatic or recurrent
  12. Malignant Ectomesenchymoma
  13. Malignant Renal Rhabdoid Tumor
  14. Marshall-Smith Syndrome
  15. Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor – Grade III
  16. Pallister-Killian Syndrome
  17. Progressive Bulbar Palsy
  18. Prostate Cancer – Hormone Refractory Disease – or with visceral metastases
  19. Revesz Syndrome
  20. Seckel Syndrome
  21. Sjogren-Larsson Syndrome
  22. Small Cell Cancer of the Thymus
  23. Soft Tissue Sarcoma – with distant metastases or recurrent
  24. X-Linked Lymphoproliferative Disease
  25. X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy

If you are in the process of filing for disability benefits, and are wondering if the Compassionate Allowances program could speed up the claims process for you, here is the link with the listing of all 225 conditions recognized under the program:  www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Speaking from personal experience, filing for disability claims and maintaining one’s benefits can be a frustrating situation, especially with all of the “hoops” one may have to endure to “prove” their “deservingness.”  Expanding the list of medical conditions for this program is an encouraging step in the right direction for the Administration.  As our elderly population and those with disabilities increases, the disability benefits process will have to keep pace with these rising numbers.  No one should have to wait months or years to receive benefits they qualify for, and are deserving of.  Let’s hope that more empowering changes are implemented by the Administration as the year progresses.  Change will only come into being if we demand it – we have to make the system work for us, and not be a hindrance when seeking to improve our quality of life.

Do you believe that expanding this list was an appropriate action taken by the Administration?  What has been your experience(s) in filing for disability benefits?  Is your condition one of the new 25 listed above?  If you have filed a claim under the Compassionate Allowances program, was the process as quick as the Administration boasts?  Did you experience any snags with the CA program?  Share your experiences with me because I am curious to learn how effective this program truly is, and if it will indeed improve the disability claims process for prospective beneficiaries.

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of the Webpage of U.S. Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA).)

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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