Compassionate Allowance conditions

Recently, the Social Security Administration announced 35 new “Compassionate Allowance conditions.”

A Compassionate Allowance condition is a “fast track” to the process of SSDI and SSI disability claims.  According to the agency, they are for “applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s definition of disability.”  A claimant suffering from such a condition is not required to be evaluated in the same way as one basing disability off of a more unique, fact-specific condition.  The difference can allow claimants to receive benefit decisions much more quickly, after days instead of after months or years.

The conditions selected for the program are developed as a result of feedback from numerous sources, including public advocacy groups, medical and scientific experts, and research from the National Institutes of Health.

And, as of the end of 2012, 35 additional conditions – including cancers and neurological and immune system disorders that affect both adults and children – have been added to the list of Compassionate Allowance conditions, bringing the total up to 200 from 165.

Peter Saltonstall, president and CEO of the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), spoke at a Washington, D.C. event where Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael Astrue announced the expansion of the program.  Saltonstall highlighted the particularly helpful effect the expansion would have on Americans with rare diseases.

The program “establishes true compassion for Americans with seriously disabling rare diseases,” said Saltonstall.  “Rare diseases tend to be severe and chronic, and many people affect by these diseases struggle with overwhelming medical and financial challenges.”

Since the establishment of the Compassionate Allowances Program in 2008, with 50 listed diseases, the program has continued to grow.  Even before the recent increase in the number of conditions that meet the requisite criteria, the Social Security Administration made benefits determinations under to program to over 150,000 disability claimants each year.  And that number will likely expand with the growth of the program.

For the Social Security Administrations webpage on the program, see:  For a recent article discussing the announcement, see: