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How does the SSA define "Compassionate Allowances"?

Many people in St. Louis, Missouri, will rely on Social Security benefits at some stage in their lives. To receive benefits, workers pay Social Security taxes which later benefit the employee in the event of retirement, disability or illness. In return, the Social Security Administration is obligated to provide benefits to those individuals whose health conditions meet the disability standards set by Social Security Administration.

The Compassionate Allowance initiative run by the Social Security Administration identifies diseases that that are clear cases of impairment based on minimal objective medical information. CAL allows the Social Security Administration to identify the most obviously disabled individuals for benefits based the CAL's findings. It is important to note that CAL is not separate from programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

The process for identifying these medical conditions involves gathering information from public outreach hearings, information collected from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, consultations with experts in the field of medicine and science and research conducted in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health. Once the information is gathered, CAL checks how closely the disease conforms to the definition of disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.

At present, the Social Security Administration has seven public outreach hearings to address rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injuries, heart stroke, dementia, heart diseases, multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, CAL has ongoing programs and initiatives that continue to identify new medical conditions that should be a part of the Social Security benefits.

People who want to file for benefits under the CAL initiative need to file the same form used for SSI or SSDI. The Social Security Administration reviews the form and expedites the cases that qualify for CAL. A decision is usually given to an applicant in a few weeks, taking into account the urgency of the situation and the severity of the medical condition.

Source: SSA.gov, "Compassionate Allowances Frequently Asked Questions," Accessed on Oct. 10, 2014

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
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