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SSDI approvals quicker with new compassionate allowances

New Jersey residents who are considering applying for Social Security disability insurance benefits will be interested to know that applications for certain ailments are fast tracked by the Social Security Administration. Called "Compassionate Allowances," these illnesses allow for quick approval based on medical information that the SSA already possesses.

On April 11, the SSA announced the addition of 52 new conditions to the Compassionate Allowances list. Beginning on August 13, 2012, applicants who can document that they are diagnosed with any of these newly added conditions will be granted faster approval.

The new list includes neurological conditions, cancers, some rare diseases and immune disorders. In order to compile the new list, the SSA's Commissioner held public outreach hearings on rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury, stroke, schizophrenia, cardiovascular diseases, early-onset Alzheimer's disease and multiple organ transplants. The purpose of the hearings was to determine the possible methods of implementing Compassionate Allowances for people suffering from disorders on the list.

The SSA also continues to collaborate with the National Institutes of Health and several patient advocacy organizations to determine which emerging conditions might deserve faster approvals.

The Compassionate Allowances program streamlines the application process for applicants who are obviously disabled by a condition recognized by the SSA.

Any effort by the SSA to simplify the application process for SSDI applicants is welcome. The application process for SSDI can be very complex, especially for people whose conditions are not on the Compassionate Allowances list. Many applicants are denied the first time they apply and are forced to appeal the decision.

People who are truly disabled need to obtain the benefits they are entitled to as soon as possible. An experienced professional can help determine if a disorder is on the list of Compassionate Allowances and assist with the application process. In the event that an applicant suffers from a disorder not on the list, an experienced professional can help assemble the required evidence to ensure the best chance of success when applying for SSDI.

Source: Great Falls Tribune, "Compassionate allowances speed up Social Security decisions for disabled," Peggy Murphy, May 9, 2012; Social Security Administration, "Compassionate Allowances," undated

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