SSA Compassionate Allowances Severe IllnessFiling for disability benefits can feel daunting. The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes up to four months to process your claim. Depending on the evidence needed, the decision process can take as much as 12 months. When you have a severe illness, you cannot wait that long. With the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program, the approval process can take just a few weeks.

SSA fast-tracks CAL cases throughout the decision process. This means you can start getting disability benefits sooner. You have a serious medical condition that’s preventing you from working. The benefit payments can’t come soon enough. 

Examples of CAL Qualifying Conditions

SSA first formed the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008. The CAL list has continued to grow since then. Today, it includes over 230 conditions. SSA seeks public input, plus expert insight from specialists, to curate this list. SSA also consults with research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

SSA maintains a list of CAL conditions on its website. Some examples of qualifying conditions include:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Breast cancer with distant metastases, inoperable, or unresectable
  • Child lymphoma
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
  • Desmoplastic mesothelioma
  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Gertsmann-Straussler-Scheinker disease
  • Heart transplant graft failure
  • Huntington disease 
  • Kufs disease
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Malignant multiple sclerosis
  • Mixed dementias
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Primary progressive aphasia
  • Rett syndrome (RTT)
  • Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)
  • Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)
  • Zellweger syndrome

In all cases, SSA still requires you to prove you’re disabled. Many conditions have severity criteria. A diagnosis may not be enough. Not all CAL conditions are terminal. But, all CAL cases are aggressive or very severe.

How the SSA Compassionate Allowances Program Works

If your SSDI application lists a CAL condition, you may qualify for a faster claim decision. Conditions include terminal cancers, rare diseases that affect children, and adult brain disorders. SSA approves many CAL-flagged claims based on diagnosis alone. You must provide medical evidence to support the diagnosis. 

CAL reduces the waiting time for qualifying applicants. This way, SSA can give out funds sooner to those who need it. To qualify as disabled, you must be unable to work for at least a year. Or, the condition may be terminal. CAL is not separate from SSDI or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It is part of these programs to speed up the approval process. 

If a disability claim approved under CAL is later denied, the family does not need to repay the money they’ve already received. 

How an Attorney Can Help

Applying for SSDI can be complex. There are many forms to fill out, and you might not know what records to provide. When you work with the experienced attorneys at Keefe Law, we can help make sure your application is completed correctly. That improves your chances of getting approved sooner. We can also make sure your claim has everything you need for CAL consideration. Applying for CAL is no different from other claims. But, there are parts that can improve your chances for faster approval. You don’t want to see your claim returned. SSA might ask for more evidence. Instead, we can help you get it right the first time. 

Experienced Social Security lawyers know the ins and outs of eligibility. For example, you may be eligible for retroactive payments. This means you may earn benefits for the time before you even applied. If there are delays, your benefits can be back-dated. We can also work to ensure you get the most benefits possible. And we’re here for the appeals process too, if needed. 

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

Get the guidance and support you need. Before you apply for SSD benefits, reach out to Keefe Law. Call us at 508-283-5500 or toll-free at 888-904-6847. Or, complete our online contact form. We can book you in for a free case evaluation. Let us review your application. We can help you have the best chance at an expedient approval and maximum benefits. 

Patrick Hartwig
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Managing Attorney, Keefe Disability Law
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