August 15, 2022
Earlier today, Acting Social Security Commissioner Dr. Kilolo Kijakazi announced the addition of twelve conditions to the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Compassionate Allowance Conditions list. Instituted in 2008, the Compassionate Allowance program (CAL) identifies conditions and diagnoses that are so severe that they will automatically meet Social Security’s strict definition of disability. Once confirmed 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 five cancer impairments, a very rare neurodegenerative brain disorder, an intestinal disorder that primarily affects newborns, a genetic disorder, a rare childhood genetic disorder, a neurological disorder, a kidney disease, and a group of conditions that impact the development of the brain:
- Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma (AITL): A rare, highly aggressive cancer of the lymphatic system that is unique to those diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN): A rare, clinically aggressive cancer that originates in blood-forming tissue and most commonly manifests as skin lesions.
- Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease (GSS): An extremely rare neurodegenerative brain disorder found only in a few families around the world.
- Microvillus Inclusion Disease – Child (MVID): An incredibly rare congenital intestinal disorder that primarily affects newborns.
- Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (MWS): A rare genetic disorder that affects several bodily systems resulting in severe intellectual impairment, microcephaly, seizures, heart defects, and distinctive facial features.
- Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Excess Blasts (MDS-EB): A rare type of myelodysplastic syndrome which has a high likelihood of turning into acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
- NUT Carcinoma: A rare, aggressive type of cancer that forms in the respiratory tract and other places along the middle of the body that cannot be cured.
- Pfeiffer Syndrome – Types II and III: A rare genetic childhood disorder that prevents normal brain growth, resulting in severe intellectual and neurological impairment.
- Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH): A group of related conditions that affect the development of the brain, specifically the pons and the cerebellum.
- Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA): A rare neurological disease and form of dementia that is considered a visual variant or an atypical variant of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
- Renal Amyloidosis – AL Type: A rare disease that deposits proteins that damage the kidneys and make it harder for them to filter wastes and break down protein.
- Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma: A rare cell type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Why is the Compassionate Allowance program important?
The CAL program has helped more than 800,000 applicants with one of 266 designated conditions be fast-tracked for Social Security claim approval. The program is becoming increasingly more important as Social Security continues to contend with a growing number of applications and average processing times. As of June 2022, over 359,000 applicants were awaiting a determination on their initial SSDI application. Current applicants face the longest application decision time in years, as the 2021 fiscal year closed at an average of 147 days.
On the other hand, an applicant that files 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. Receiving a decision more quickly can provide financial stability in the face of medical uncertainty.
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 The Advocator Group (now operating as 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.
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.