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Expediting Social Security disability claims for the severely disabled

Posted by Andrew Chan  March 9, 2009 10:00 AM

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At the end of last year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced the rollout of their nationwide, Compassionate Allowances initiative to expedite the approval process for applicants with the most severe disabilities and illnesses who file for disability benefits. Unlike the normal approval process, which can take months, the approval process for those who qualify under this initiative can be completed within days. Through its research and public hearings, the SSA has compiled a list of 50 illnesses which qualify for the expedited decision process. The list currently includes 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers and can be reviewed at the SSA’s web site (http://www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm). The SSA is clear in describing this list as an initial list that is expected to grow as they continue to research and review other severe illnesses and conditions. Evidence of some of the areas the SSA is considering can be seen in their hearings on brain injuries and stroke last November.

In 2007, the SSA rolled out a nationwide process called the Quick Disability Determination (QDD) process. For those applying for disability benefits, this process tried to identify those who are clearly deemed disabled so they can start receiving their benefits faster. According to the SSA, the QDD process combines the use of predictive computer models and easily obtainable information about the applicant to identify them for a quick decision. While the QDD process is still being used today, the Compassionate Allowances initiative seems to take this concept one step further and expedites those cases which, according to the SSA, “obviously meet SSA’s standards”.

To learn more about the Compassionate Allowances initiative, visit the SSA’s web site at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/ or call them at 1-800-772-1213.

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