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25 medical conditions have been added to Compassionate Allowances

When someone has an acute medical condition or disease -- especially a life-threatening one -- that is so serious and disabling that it virtually always qualifies for Social Security disability benefits, it's outrageous for that person to be subjected to administrative waiting periods, adversarial proceedings and backlogs. The Social Security Administration agrees. In fact, it holds itself obligated to provide benefits quickly when an applicant's condition obviously meets the SSA's statutory disability standards.

To meet that obligation, the SSA created the Compassionate Allowances program. The program is a collaborative initiative between medical experts, disability advocacy groups, the public, and government agencies meant to determine which diseases are more than just qualifying medical conditions under Social Security law -- but invariably qualifying ones. When an applicant has one of those conditions identified, the SSA fast-tracks the application for a quick decision. So far, nearly 200,000 people have benefitted from the Compassionate Allowances process.

The agency has just announced the addition of 25 newly-identified conditions, largely types of cancer, to the Compassionate Allowances list, bringing the total to 225.

Two types of disabling prostate cancer were added: hormone refractory disease and prostate cancer with visceral metastases. That addition delighted Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland. "Working with constituents fighting this disease, I know just how life altering it can be, as well as how many will benefit from this change in policy," he said, calling it "a decision that will save lives, and give more patients access to treatment options."

Other medical conditions that now qualify for Compassionate Allowances include a number of named syndromes, neurological disorders, immunological diseases and some conditions affecting multiple body systems. For a full list of the newly-added conditions, click on the source link below or see the full list at the SSA's Compassionate Allowances website.

Quicker access to desperately-needed Social Security disability benefits, said the SSA's acting commissioner, provide "a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve."

If you or someone you care about has a serious disease and might qualify for that lifeline, please discuss your specific situation with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Social Security Announces New Compassionate Allowances Conditions," Jan. 15, 2014

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