Compassionate Allowances Can Provide the Severely Disabled a Fast Track to Federal Benefits
Only a relatively small number of people manage to get initial Social Security Disability (SSD) claims accepted without going through one or more steps of the appeals process. With each appeals step, claimants can wait for months while their claims go through the review process at the Social Security Administration (SSA). These delays can cause extreme hardship for severely-disabled people who cannot earn a living. In many cases, valid claims are so obvious that they do not require the full investigation that delays claim payments. To alleviate delays, the SSA developed a list of Compassionate Allowances (CAL) that reduce processing time for certain claimants.
Under CAL, the SSA maintains a list of conditions deemed so severe that they obviously qualify for benefits. The SSA compiled the list of qualified conditions based on information from public outreach hearings, research conducted with the National Institutes of Health, medical experts and other sources. The list continues to increase but, as of early December 2012, it included 200 CAL conditions.
Of course, even with CAL conditions, claims can still undergo delays for a number of reasons, such as the following two most common situations:
- Processing delays caused by the ever-increasing number of claims received by the SSA
- Failure of medical providers to supply the SSA with the records needed to substantiate a CAL condition
In addition, certain severe conditions that many people believe should qualify for CAL have not made it to the list of qualified conditions. For example, HIV/AIDS qualifies for disability benefits only when claimants meet specific severity requirements established by the SSA.
Even though the CAL process occurs automatically for proven conditions currently on the list, it makes sense for claimants to seek advice from an experienced SSD attorney prior to filing a claim. Your lawyer can provide whatever level of support you need to help ensure your claim receives the most efficient handling possible within the SSA.