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“Compassionate Allowances” program can speed up SSDI benefits

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The wait for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be excruciating. Every day that passes increases your worry about paying your bills, keeping up with your house payments, covering your medical expenses and having food on the table for your family. Sadly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has such a backlog of cases that it may take months or even years for a decision to be made.

What if you, due to the nature of your illness, condition or disability, simply don't have that long to wait? The SSA's "Compassionate Allowances" program (CAP) may be able to help.

What is the CAP?

According to the SSA, the purpose of the CAP is to "quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions" that require little "objective medical information" to prove so as to get those applicants SSDI benefits as soon as possible. Essentially, the CAP is designed to provide quicker benefit decisions for people suffering from conditions which may be proven with minimum medical and anecdotal evidence. With the inclusion of an additional 25 conditions in early 2014, the program now covers nearly 230 conditions, illnesses and disabilities, including:

  • Adrenal, bladder, breast, esophageal, gallbladder, intestinal, kidney, liver, lung, ovarian, pancreatic and other cancers
  • Heart diseases and defects, including Single Ventricle, Endomyocardial Fibrosis, Fulminant Myocarditis and others
  • Musculoskeletal conditions like Advanced/Malignant Multiple Sclerosis, Fukuyama Muscular Dystrophy and more
  • Early-Onset Alzheimer's and other serious neurological conditions

How does the CAP differ from regular disability applications?

From the perspective of the applicant, nothing about the process for claiming disability benefits for a CAP condition varies from applying for non-CAP conditions. CAP applicants must still fill out the exacting application materials, provide medical evidence to support their claim and provide biographic information about residence and job information if applicable.

Once the application has been received by the SSA, though, requests for benefits for CAP conditions will be sorted and fast-tracked. Instead of waiting months or even years for a decision, these applicants will usually hear back within a matter of weeks. This is not to say that the process of applying for benefits is easy, nor is it guaranteed that all applicants - even those with conditions covered under the CAP - will receive benefits. Though CAP applications do require less objective medical evidence, there is still a requirement that sufficient information be provided to support the diagnosis.

Learning more about the CAP

Do you have questions about the SSDI or SSI benefits application process? Are you unsure if you have a CAP-covered condition? Would you like guidance from someone with in-depth knowledge of how SSDI and SSI benefits are awarded? If so, an experienced social security disability attorney in your area will be able to help.

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