By Karyl Richson
Tens of thousands more people will benefit from a faster and more efficient process when applying for disability benefits, thanks to an expansion in Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances.
Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits — allowing for faster decisions in the most obvious cases.
Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security, announced 38 more conditions that are being added to the Compassionate Allowances list. This expands the original list of 50 conditions (25 rare diseases and 25 cancers) that was announced in October 2008. The new conditions range from adult brain disorders to rare diseases that primarily affect children.
“The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s indicates significant cognitive impairment that interferes with daily living activities, including the ability to work,” said Harry Johns, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association. “Now, individuals who are dealing with the enormous challenges of Alzheimer’s won’t also have to endure the financial and emotional toll of a long disability decision process.”
“This truly innovative program will provide invaluable assistance and support to patients and families coping with severely disabling rare diseases,” said Peter L. Saltonstall, President and CEO of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).
“We will continue to hold hearings and look for other diseases and conditions that can be added to our list of Compassionate Allowances,” said Commissioner Astrue.
To learn more, and to see a complete list of the 38 new conditions, read the press release at www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/cal021110-pr.html.