On December 6, 2012, Commissioner of Social Security Michael Astrue announced that 35 new health conditions would be added to the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance’s Program, bringing the total number of diseases to 200. The SSA hopes that the addition of these new health conditions to the programs list will help sufferers secure the disability benefits that they need more quickly, while also helping the SSA to reduce its significant backlog of Social Security disability claims.
The Compassionate Allowances list (CAL) is a program that expedites the disability claims process for Americans who suffer from extremely serious and obvious disabilities and health conditions–illnesses that are easy to verify in medical records and often illnesses that require immediate action because of their severity. The program was begun in 2008, and has been expanding regularly since that time. Those who apply through the program can expect to get benefits in as little as 10 to 15 days, whereas other claimants often wait for months or years for benefits.
Those with a disease or condition on the CAL should fill out a disability benefits application just as any other claimant would–the SSA will expedite any application that involves a disease on the list.
The newest additions to the list of compassionate allowances include a number of different cancers and brain diseases as well as several rare diseases, including: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Adult Onset Huntington Disease, Erdheim Chester Disease, Fryns Syndrome, Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia, and Phelan-McDermid Syndrome.
According to Commissioner Astrue, the new additions to the compassionate allowances list were made after asking for public input, holding outreach hearings, communicating with those who work for Disability Determination Services, and consulting with medical experts.