Back in May we wrote about the fact that the Social Security Administration had added 52 conditions to the list of those that should receive so-called “compassionate allowances.” What that means for New Jersey individuals is that applications for Social Security disability for illness based on those conditions are to receive faster processing; meaning swifter receipt of benefits to those who qualify.
Among the specific conditions that have been approved for this SSDI attention upgrade is a disease called constrictive bronchiolitis. It’s also known as obliterative bronchiolitis and bronchiolitis obliterans. All of those are fancy words for a condition that scars the smallest airways of its victims and can leave them gasping for air after just a few minutes of normal work.
The disease is one that is showing up in some Afghan and Iraq war veterans who were exposed to smoke and fire conditions in the war zones. But it’s also cropping up in workers in U.S. factories where the chemical diacetyl is used to give microwave popcorn that buttery flavor so many of us love.
Under the new fast-track designation, applicants seeking Social Security disability for illness should be able to side-step most of the normal procedures for obtaining benefits. Rather than the normal hurdles, those who can provide the necessary documentation and tests results that confirm the disease, and deliver a physician’s recommendation, should usually be approved.
Among some of the other diseases that now are allowed fast-track status are metastatic melanoma and juvenile onset Huntington Disease. All of them became fast-tracked conditions as of Aug. 11.
As the SSA announcement notes, its action to add these conditions to the list is meant to ensure that those who suffer with diseases that are “so serious the obviously meet disability standards,” get the help they need.
Despite the move, fast-tracking is not a guarantee of benefits. The process for application still requires that very specific steps be taken. And if it’s denied, an appeal may be needed, which can be time consuming, confusing and frustrating. The help of experienced counsel can ease the way at every stage of the process.