Earlier today, Acting Social Security Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi announced the addition of twelve conditions to the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Compassionate Allowances conditions list. Created in 2008, the Compassionate Allowances program (CAL) identifies conditions and diagnoses that are so severe that they will automatically meet Social Security’s strict definition of disability. Once established that an applicant has a condition or diagnosis found on the CAL list, Social Security may be able to expedite their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application for a timelier release of benefits.
The following conditions were added to the list and include three conditions typing impacting children, two chromosomal disorders, and seven cancer-related impairments:
- 1p36 Deletion Syndrome: A chromosome disorder typically causing severe intellectual disability.
- Anaplastic Ependymoma: A tumor originally formed in the central nervous system that grows rapidly and in an unusual shape.
- Calciphylaxis: An uncommon yet serious condition where calcium accumulates in the small blood vessels of fat and skin tissue.
- Cholangiocarcinoma: A rare form of cancer in which the disease forms in the bile ducts. Also known as Bile Duct Cancer.
- FOXG1 Syndrome: An inherently life-limiting neurological and developmental disorder typically diagnosed during the second month of life.
- Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA): A family of congenital retinal dystrophies often resulting in severe vision loss early on.
- Metastatic Endometrial Adenocarcinoma: A type of cancer originating in the lining of the uterus that has spread to other areas of the body.
- Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration (PCD): The most commonly seen disorder associated with cancer but not caused by direct invasion, metastasis, or as a result of consequences of treatment.
- Pineoblastoma – Childhood: A rare brain tumor that develops in the pineal gland, often diagnosed in children and young adults.
- Primary Omental Cancer: An extremely rare tumor originating in the fat of the stomach and extending to every organ within the abdomen.
- Sarcomatoid Carcinoma of the Lung – Stages II-IV (PSC): An extremely rare but highly invasive and aggressive form of lung cancer. Also known as pulmonary sarcomatoid carcinoma.
- Trisomy 9: A rare chromosomal disorder where the entire 9th chromosome appears three times rather than twice in the cells of the body.
The importance of the Compassionate Allowances program
The CAL program has helped more than 900,000 applicants with one of 266 designated conditions be fast-tracked for Social Security claim approval. The program continues to grow in importance as Social Security contends with rising numbers of applications and average processing times. As of July 2023, over 420,000 applicants were awaiting a determination on their initial SSDI application. Current applicants face the longest application decision time in years, as the 2022 fiscal year closed at an average of 184 days for both SSDI and SSI claims at the initial application level.
Over the past decade and a half, applicants filing a claim with a Compassionate Allowance designation could receive their decision in as little as a week to ten days from the date they filed their application. Unfortunately, this is no longer the standard timeframe for the most vulnerable applicants as they, too, may be expected to wait weeks or even months for a decision. However, in many cases, a Compassionate Allowance designation could still mean the difference between waiting a few weeks versus several months or longer to receive a decision.
What happens next?
If you are filing for SSDI or SSI benefits and have one of the conditions recently added to the CAL list, you should reach out to your local Social Security office today to ensure that a Compassionate Allowance designation has been added to your file to help expedite the decision-making process. Social Security can add this designation to your application no matter what level, including if you have received a denial. If you are a client of Brown & Brown Absence Services Group, you can rest assured we will be contacting Social Security on your behalf to ensure the proper processing of your claim. You may contact our office at any time if you have questions about how this might impact your claim.
Nothing in this post is intended as advice or a suggestion to elect or not elect to claim benefits of any kind, including Social Security benefits, nor is it intended as financial advice in any way. The decision to claim benefits is a personal one that is contingent upon each individual’s unique circumstances. Nothing herein is considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.