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With some SSD claims, timing means everything

It's all about timing. When you have suffered a disabling medical condition and can no longer work, time periods can become very important. You have bills to pay and if you are unable to continue working and earning income, worrying about how you will pay those bills can become a great concern in addition to your medical worries.

While you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, you may have heard that these benefits can be difficult to obtain, with hearings, appeals and other delays. If you suffer from a severe medical condition or have a terminal illness, you may wonder if it is worth the time and effort and whether you will live long enough to actually receive any payments.

These are all valid concerns. The SSD application and approval process can be terribly slow. However, if you suffer from a particularly severe condition, one that SSA has included in its list of severe impairments, you may be able to obtain your SSD benefits much more quickly.

SSA has two programs that help those with severe conditions, Compassionate Allowance (CAL) and Quick Disability Determination (QDD). SSA's Office of Inspector General audits and reviews how SSA functions in providing benefits and they examined a sample of claims made under these programs.

On a positive note, they found that SSA approved claims for 93 percent of the applications made under these programs and that CAL benefits were medically allowed on average within 47 days. QDD claims were even quicker, at 18 days.

For those who believe that many SSD claims are often inappropriate, these cases demonstrate the severity of the medical conditions many of those who apply for SSD. The OIG reports that of the estimated 76,000 cases allowed during the five-year period, 54,000 beneficiaries had since died, or about 71 percent.

If you suffer a severe medical condition, you do not want to delay, as you may qualify for the Compassionate Allowance and Quick Disability Determination process and could obtain your benefits within a much shorter period than ordinary SSD claims.

Source:, "Status of Compassionate Allowance and Quick Disability Determination Expedited Cases," Office of Inspector General, Social Security Administration, March 16, 2016

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