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Social Security Compassionate Allowance Initiative

November 23, 2008 by The Sawaya Law Firm

The Social Security Administration has begun a process to identify claims with very severe medical conditions so that these claims can be decided in a few days rather than months or years. Identifying and quickly processing these cases will help people with severe medical conditions that clearly meet Social Security’s rules get their benefits timely and keep them out of the backlog of pending cases. This initiative is one of the steps Social Security’s Commissioner, Michael J. Astrue, is taking to reduce the huge backlog of Social Security disability cases.

The Social Security Administration solicited input from experts in cancers and rare diseases to put together a list of 50 conditions that once identified in a Social Security disability claim, would then be fast-tracked for a decision–a compassionate allowance. Rare conditions pose a problem for Social Security decision makers as they don’t have the medical expertise to fit these conditions into their decision-making framework.

The list can be found here: www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances. The list will be expanded over time to include more conditions. Commissioner Astrue said “Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do.” This initiative appears to be a good first step.

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