On Monday we discussed the number of new conditions that the Social Security Administration (SSA) is adding to its “Compassionate Allowances,” list, including diseases like childhood cancers and degenerative illnesses. The Compassionate Allowances program was begun in 2008, following a yearlong study of the SSA’s history of awarding disability benefits to people with serious but rare conditions.
The SSA found that the average waiting period, which can be up to two years, was much too long for these people. Their conditions often progressed rapidly, and many people had passed away by the time their approval for benefits had come through. According to an article in The Oregonian, the SSA found that when it came to patients with these rare diseases, the agency found that it had “mishandled” about 40 percent of cases. One condition in the study was ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a degenerative condition that attacks muscle strength and coordination.
The SSA speculates that since the Compassionate Allowance program was started, 200,000 people have received these “fast-tracked” benefits. This makes a huge difference in the quality of life for these people, allowing them to pay their bills and buy groceries even though they cannot work. This program has made a difference in the lives of many people suffering from rare, debilitating diseases.
The SSA lists all 200 current conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances on the Social Security website. If you have questions about whether you are eligible for disability benefits or the application process in general, contact our Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers. We offer free consultations and you can reach us by phone at (918) 265-1404.