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Social Security adds five conditions to the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) list

By Advocator September 3, 2020

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that five new conditions have been added to the Compassionate Allowance (CAL) list.  The CAL list was first formed in 2008 to help identify conditions so severe that they automatically meet SSA’s definition of disability. The list has continued to grow and now includes over 230 conditions, including metastatic or fast-growing cancers, genetic diseases, motor neurological disorders, and terminal illnesses. SSDI claims citing these conditions will likely be fast-tracked for a disability determination.


The following conditions were added to the list this month:

  • Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors: a rare, highly aggressive type of soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) that is often not diagnosed until the cancer is advanced.
  • GM1 Gangliosidosis – Infantile and Juvenile Forms: a rare lysosomal storage disorder characterized by a wide range of variable neurovisceral, ophthalmological, and dysmorphic features.
  • Nicolaides-Baraister Syndrome: a very rare condition characterized by severe intellectual disability and various physical features. Features of the condition can worsen over time. 
  • Rubinstein-Tybai Syndrome (RTS): a rare genetic disorder with onset during early childhood. RTS affects multiple organ systems and is characterized by marked mental disability and physical abnormalities and is often accompanied by memory, mood, and anxiety disorders.
  • Secondary Adenocarcinoma of the Brain: a brain lesion caused by the spread of cancerous cells from a malignant tumor in another organ.


SSA keeps the CAL list publicly accessible on their website so anyone can review the qualifying conditions at any time.  In reviewing the CAL list, it’s important to note that while CAL conditions are considered extremely severe/aggressive, that does not mean that all CAL conditions are deemed terminal.

SSA has a separate distinction, referred to as TERI (Terminal Illness), for conditions that are considered most likely to result in death. The CAL and TERI designations are similar in nature, and both are meant to expedite approval for SSDI claims involving serious disabling conditions. However, there is not a full and comprehensive list of TERI conditions; SSA uses descriptors such as waiting for vital organ transplants, documented diagnoses of certain malignant cancers, and receiving hospice care to identify potential TERI claims.

To learn more about the Compassionate Allowance program or if you/a loved one’s condition may qualify for an expedited claim review, please feel free to reach out to The Advocator Group or your local Social Security office or visit the Social Security website!


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.

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