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Social Security To Expand Fast-Track Claims
Posted in: News on December 19th, 2012

To ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration placed an additional 35 Compassionate Allowances conditions in effect, bringing the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 200. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that meet the Social Security standards for serious illness disability benefits.

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These conditions include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, early-onset Lou Gehrig’s disease and a number of rare disorders that affect children. Since the Compassionate Allowances program was started 200,000 people have received expedited benefits. The fast-track program ensures that those with the most serious cases receive their benefit decisions within 10-15 days now instead of taking months or years. The program is also designed to ease the workload of an agency that has been swamped by disability claims since the economic recession a few years ago. Disability claims are up by more than 20 percent from 2008. High demand during the down economy has made it difficult for Social Security to reduce disability claims backlogs and wait times for decisions. About 3.2 million people have applied for disability benefits this year, up from 2.6 million in 2008, the agency said.

The Compassionate Allowances program was started in 2008, about a year after the agency did an internal review of how it handled initial applications from people with a handful of serious or rare conditions. By definition, these conditions are so severe that Social Security does not need to extensively develop the applicant’s history to make a decision.  As a result, Social Security shortened this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.

Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions.  The hearings also have helped the agency identify ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions. For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

 

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