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SSA Compassionate Allowances: An Overview

Last updated: November 19, 2023

Social Security Administration (SSA) Compassionate Allowances are a fast-track disability program designed to help those with certain medical conditions get their disability benefits faster. The program was launched in 2008 and had since helped many individuals receive their benefits quickly and easily.

What Are Compassionate Allowances?

Compassionate Allowances are a program that focuses on quickly identifying individuals with certain severe medical conditions who qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The program allows the SSA to quickly identify and approve certain medical conditions as meeting the criteria for disability benefits.

How Do Compassionate Allowances Work?

The SSA has identified a list of medical conditions that are so severe that they automatically qualify applicants for disability benefits. These conditions are called Compassionate Allowance conditions. If an applicant has a condition on the list, the SSA will quickly approve the application and begin paying benefits. 

The Compassionate Allowance list contains over 200 conditions, including certain cancers, brain disorders, and rare genetic diseases. Other conditions include adult and childhood-onset diseases, such as blindness, deafness, and Down Syndrome. The SSA also includes certain autoimmune and infectious diseases, such as lupus, HIV/AIDS, and severe kidney disease. In addition, the list includes several end-stage diseases, such as Alzheimer's, heart failure, and liver cirrhosis.

The Compassionate Allowance list is regularly reviewed and updated to reflect medical technology and treatment advances. This ensures that individuals with the most serious medical conditions are quickly identified and provided with the necessary benefits. The SSA also provides resources to help individuals with Compassionate Allowance conditions, including access to financial and social services and legal advice.

What Conditions Qualify for Compassionate Allowances?

The SSA has identified over 200 conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances. These conditions include certain types of cancer, rare diseases, and genetic disorders. To see the full list of conditions, visit the SSA website. 

The Compassionate Allowances program is designed to expedite the disability application process for those with severe conditions. In most cases, individuals will receive a decision within days of applying for benefits. In order to be eligible for Compassionate Allowances, an individual must have a medical condition on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances list and have medical evidence that supports the diagnosis. In addition, the applicant must meet Social Security’s definition of disability.

The Compassionate Allowances program is a valuable resource for those with severe medical conditions, allowing them to receive the disability benefits they need as soon as possible. However, it is important to note that it is only available to those with the qualifying conditions listed on the SSA’s website. For those with other medical conditions, the regular disability application process must be followed.

How to Apply for Benefits Through Compassionate Allowances

If you think you may be eligible for disability benefits through Compassionate Allowances, you can apply online, by mail, or in person. To apply, you must provide evidence of your medical condition, such as medical records or test results.

What Happens After You Apply?

Once your application is approved, the SSA will begin processing your benefits. The process can take up to six months, but some applicants may receive their benefits in a few weeks. If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision.

Key Takeaway SSA Compassionate Allowances

You may be eligible for Social Security Administration (SSA) Compassionate Allowances if you have a severe medical condition. This program can help you get your disability benefits faster and more easily. To determine eligibility, visit the SSA website or contact your local office.

If you are interested in more articles like this, here’s one about the rules for working while on SSDI.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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