Compassionate Allowance

September 25,2012
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two disability programs, Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both address individuals who can no longer work due to a medical condition. Often, claimants are in very difficult financial situations, and they desperately need the monthly benefits SSA provides. However, a New York Social Security disability attorney understands that the system has a backlog of cases; a best case scenario means between three and five months for a decision and more complicated cases can take years. Recognizing this problem, the SSA developed an expedited processing option for certain disability claimants, which can result in a decision within weeks.

Underlying Eligibility

It is important to realize that expedited processing is not a separate disability program; rather, as a New York Social Security disability attorney can explain, it is a separate processing option for those whose condition obviously meets the SSA’s definition of disability. Consequently, the claimant must meet the other SSA eligibility requirements as well. For example, an SSD claimant must have sufficient work credits to be eligible, and an SSI applicant must not exceed income and asset limitations.

The Compassionate Allowance (CAL) Program

In addition to terminal illness, military casualty and dire need cases, CAL cases qualify for expedited processing. Currently, the SSA lists over 200 conditions that qualify for CAL processing. Many of these conditions are a form of or related to cancer. Additionally, working with the National Institute of Health and public outreach groups, the SSA regularly investigates new medical evidence to identify conditions to add to the list. A New York Social Security disability attorney can provide a complete list of all conditions currently recognized by the SSA.

Applying With a CAL Condition

For the most part, the application process for CAL cases is the same as for non-expedited processing. One exception a New York Social Security disability attorney indicates is for SSD cases. An important part of regular SSD applications is the requirement for the applicant to submit a detailed work history and educational background. This is used to determine if the claimant can adjust and retrain for new work if they are deemed unable to perform past work activities. For CAL cases, the applicant’s medical condition is so severe that any new work is highly unlikely, and it is unnecessary to provide work and education information.

The SSA’s official policy is that the applicant does not need to do anything to emphasize that their application should be processed as a CAL case; it is the job of the reviewers to flag cases that qualify and initiate expedited processing. A New York Social Security disability lawyer explains that this can be a mistake. It is far better to highlight on the application that it should be considered a CAL case and not leave it to chance.

Contact a New York Social Security Disability Lawyer for Legal Advice

Understanding how best to apply for Social Security disability depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation. For a free case evaluation, call Hermann Law Group, PLLC, at 1-877-773-3030.