For those with serious conditions seeking Social Security disability benefits, the process has got easier. In late 2007, a new program called Compassionate Allowances was started to quickly identify medical conditions that are so severe that they unquestionably qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Compassionate Allowances is a list of serious medical conditions that increased to a listing of 100 conditions as of this year. It is one of two parts of Social Security's fast-track system for disability claims. The other part is the Quick Disability Determination process which uses electronic data to identify and analyze key elements in a disability claim. Using the electronic process, they can identify when there is a high likelihood that the claimant is disabled according to their criteria and gain evidence of any allegations quickly and easily.
Using this fast-track process, Social Security approved nearly 100,000 claims last year. Claims were usually approved in less than two weeks, which is much shorter than the usual waiting period. This year they expect to fast-track 50 percent more.
The Commissioner of Social Security said they have an obligation to award benefits quickly to people with very severe medical conditions. Making a list facilitates that obligation. He said by definition, the disorders on the list are so severe that there is no question whether the person qualifies for disability benefits.
The list was developed from information partially from public outreach hearings, medical and scientific experts, the National Institutes of Health, as well as from the Social Security and Disability Determination Service communities.
Source: Central Wisconsin Business, "Hess: 100 disability conditions get priority", Ken Hess, Oct. 6, 2011