Every individual who needs to pursue Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) faces some degree of personal and financial challenges. One of the most common questions asked of disability benefits attorneys is how soon benefits start after a determination has been made that a person is unable to work.
For people with the most serious disabilities, the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances program provides fast-track resolutions to ensure that benefit decisions occur within days instead of making a person wait for months or years of applications and appeals.
SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue recently announced that 52 rare diseases, neurological disorders and cancers have been added to the Compassionate Allowances List (CAL). The list includes various types of sarcoma, carcinoma and lymphoma, as well as several rare syndromes and specific forms of Huntington's disease and other medical conditions that provide rapidly debilitating effects on sufferers.
The SSA regularly consults with the medical community, disability experts and patient advocates to identify new conditions that should be added to the list. Since the CAL was first implemented, more than 170,000 Americans have received benefits on an expedited basis due to the serious nature of their afflictions. This program complements other expedited benefits claims such as Terminal Illness (TERI) claims and Quick Disability Determinations (QDD).
Unlike many other conditions on the Listing of Impairments, CAL diagnoses invariably qualify for benefits based on a basic diagnosis without the need for a work history assessment. The recently announced additions to the CAL will be effective in August of 2012.
An SSDI lawyer can help clients understand all aspects of disability benefits applications, from the implications of severe impairments to important strategies for documenting less apparent conditions and the potential necessity of filing an appeal.