Being accepted for Social Security Disability benefits is often the deciding factor in a family's ability to continue seeking care, put food on the table, and keep their current home or apartment. Since the economic downturn of 2008, however, a 20 percent raise in disability claims has caused the Social Security Administration to be severely backlogged, turning the application, denial, and appeal process into a costly and frustrating affair.
Now, however, some good news may finally be coming for those making their case to the SSA. The association's Compassionate Allowances program has was expanded earlier this month, adding 35 conditions and diseases to an already sizeable list of diagnoses that will immediately fast-track a claim toward approval and the start of disability benefit payments.
Serious ailments such as cancer, early onset Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease, conditions that clearly meet the government agency's definition of disabling, will soon only take a few days to secure approval for their claimant, whereas past claims often took months of even years to finally be approved.
Those filing claims that qualify under the Compassionate Allowances program still will need to produce the proper documentation in order to begin receiving benefits. Still, so long as the proper medical, insurance, and employment paperwork is on hand, claimants will be able to circumvent much of the appeal process. Currently about two thirds of all claims are rejected outright, with the subsequent appeal process lasting 354 days on average.
The Compassionate Allowances program was started in 2008 and is designed to address a claim within 10 to 15 days. Speaking about the program, one representative from the Alzheimer's Association called it "a godsend for people who have just received diagnoses that promise to be extraordinarily difficult for patients and their families."
Source: The Oregonian, "Social Security disability claims will be sped up by program's expansion," Dec. 5, 2012
- As regulations change for Social Security Disability benefits, our firm can help you prepare for a successful claim or appeal. For more information, contact our Harris County Social Security law page.