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Understanding the Compassionate Allowance program

One thing you should understand as a person looking into obtaining Social Security Disability (SSD) is what a compassionate allowance is. The Compassionate Allowances program is designed to help quickly identify a disease or illness, making it faster for a person with a specified disease or illness to obtain SSD.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the same rules for Compassionate Allowances when determining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits for applicants.

The list of Compassionate Allowances shows a variety of conditions ranging from acute leukemia to adult onset Huntington Disease. If there is a disease known to disable or lead to death, it's likely in the CAL condition list.

Some conditions require further evaluation before individuals can obtain disability. Take, for example, a person with diabetes. By looking at the "D" section of the CAL condition list on the SSA's website, you can see that diabetes is not on the list. Diabetes is not always disabling and doesn't always lead to death, making it important for people disabled by the disease to collect medical information and to submit it for review.

On the other hand, if you look up one of a number of cancers, you'll see that thyroid cancer, lymphomas and other illnesses fall under the CAL requirements, making it faster to apply for and receive disability benefits. This is something to consider if you want to apply for benefits, because the specifics of your condition will make a difference as to how fast you are approved for the disability benefits you want to receive.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Compassionate Allowances," accessed June 14, 2018

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