Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances Process Will Fast Track Applications For People with Cancers and Rare Diseases
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the national rollout of the agency’s Compassionate Allowances initiative, a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards.
“Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do,” Commissioner Astrue said. “This initiative will allow us to make decisions on these cases in a matter of days, rather than months or years.”
Currently, getting social security benefits can be a long time process which often does not get “worked out” until after the death of an applicant. Hopefully this process will expedite the process so that people will be able to receive their benefits to which they are entitled when they actually need them.
The expedited decision process is starting out with a total of 50 conditions. The Social Security Administration has stated that, over time, more diseases and conditions will be added to the list of expedited illnesses. A list of the first 50 impairments — 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers — can be found at at the end of this post.
Compassionate Allowances is the second piece of the agency’s two-track, fast-track system for certain disability claims. When combined with the agency’s Quick Disability Determination process, and once fully implemented, this two-track system could result in six to nine percent of disability claims, the cases for as much as a quarter million people, being decided in an average of six to eight days.
“This is an outstanding achievement for the rights of the very sickest in our community. The high number of backlogged cases and appeals has made it a significantly time consuming task to obtain the benefits we are entitled to receive. Hopefully his program will break the log jam and people will be able get on with their lives.
“Unfortunately, many hardworking people with cancer may not only face intensive treatment to save their lives, but they may also find themselves truly unable to perform their daily work-related activities and as result, may face serious financial concerns, such as the loss of income and the cost of treatment,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program will help streamline the disability benefits application process so that benefits are quickly provided to those who need them most.”
Unfortunately, if you review the list advanced prostate cancer is not on the expedited list. It should be and hopefully it will be added in the future. The current list does include two types of breast cancer, so where is prostate cancer?
The list currently includes:
Adrenal Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Alexander Disease (ALX) – Neonatal and Infantile
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Astrocytoma – Grade III and IV
Bladder Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Bone Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Breast Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Canavan Disease (CD)
Cerebro Oculo Facio Skeletal (COFS) Syndrome
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) – Blast Phase
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) – Adult
Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Tumor)
Farber’s Disease (FD) – Infantile
Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA)
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Picks Disease -Type A – Adult
Gaucher Disease (GD) – Type 2
Glioblastoma Multiforme (Brain Tumor)
Head and Neck Cancers – with distant metastasis or inoperable or uresectable
Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD)
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
Kidney Cancer – inoperable or unresectable
Krabbe Disease (KD) – Infantile
Large Intestine Cancer – with distant metastasis or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (LNS)
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) – Late Infantile
Niemann-Pick Disease (NPD) – Type A
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer – with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) Deficiency
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) – Type II
Ovarian Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Pompe Disease – Infantile
Rett (RTT) Syndrome
Small Cell Cancer (of the Large Intestine, Ovary, Prostate, or Uterus)
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small Intestine Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) – Types 0 And 1
Stomach Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Ureter Cancer – with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW
I have prostate cancer discovered by PSA test results. I’m fifty nine now. My biopsy (a year and a half ago) was a Gleason 9, Stage 3. My treatment would take a great deal of space, but, basically consists of radiation, Zoladex injections and other meds.
My younger brother died of it one year after diagnosis. I am doing OK so far.
The point of my comment is this. My SSDI was granted relatively quickly once my doctor made it clear that my condition would last at least a year. Although, before my treatment I could do up to fifty pushups without stopping, now, I cannot do one. The treatment is more the reason than the cancer.
Can you tell me if prostate cancer has been added to the SSI List 2008) re benefits? I find it difficult to believe that the number 1 cause of death in men is being discriminated at this time.