Social Security Disability (SSD) and Terminal Illness

October 02,2012
imgpsh_fullsize (15)

As the baby boomer population ages, there is an increased number of people applying for SSD benefits. Citing Social Security Administration (SSA) statistics, a social security disability lawyer in NYC reports that approximately three million new applications were filed in 2013 and that there are currently over 900,000 applications somewhere in the SSD determination process. Most people with disabling medical conditions need the benefits SSA can provide as soon as possible, but none need it more than the terminally ill.

Terminal Illness (TERI) Cases

According to the SSA, a terminal illness is “a medical condition that is untreatable and is expected to result in death.” The SSA uses the acronym TERI to refer to such cases. TERI cases qualify for expedited processing at each step of the SSD application procedure.

Threshold Eligibility

TERI cases qualify for expedited processing because a terminally ill individual obviously fits the SSA’s description of disabled. However, a social security disability lawyer in NYC can explain that every SSD claimant must have worked long enough and recently enough and contributed to the SSA system to be eligible. The SSA bases eligibility on earning sufficient work credits, which varies by the age of the SSD applicant.

What Cases Qualify for TERI Processing

SSA guidelines instruct the initial SSD application reviewers to be alert to potential TERI cases. In addition, a social security disability lawyer in NYC indicates that the claimant or a third party such as a friend, family member or medical provider can present a credible claim for TERI processing.

Case Descriptors

The SSA has established what it calls descriptors to identify TERI cases. A social security disability lawyer in NYC cites the following as examples:
• An allegation or diagnosis of ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
• An allegation or diagnosis of AIDS
• Receiving hospice care
• Awaiting a heart, liver, lung or bone marrow transplant
• Untreatable cancer
• Recurrent cancer
• Chronic heart failure
• Certain degenerative diseases
• Comatose for 30 or more days

Steps to Improve the Chances a Case Receives Expedited Processing

An important consideration a New York social security disability law firm will emphasize is that if a claimant suffers from a terminal disease that is not listed under the established TERI list of cases, they are nonetheless eligible for TERI processing. The most persuasive evidence is an official medical diagnosis from the claimant’s treating physician indicating the terminal illness, which is clearly stated in the medical records. Additionally, it is equally important to indicate on the SSD application that the condition the claimant is suffering from is not one for which a recovery is expected; the prognosis is death. Finally, the SSA has an alternative expedited processing options including what is known as compassionate allowance. Currently, over 200 medical conditions are listed and more are to be added. If a claimant’s condition is among those listed, their SSD application will be expedited.

Contact a New York Social Security Disability Law Firm for Legal Advice

Knowledgeable and experienced counsel can maximize your chance for approval when applying for social security disability. For a free case evaluation, call Hermann Law Group, PLLC, at 1-877-773-3030.