The Social Security Administration provides long-term, disability benefits to U.S. workers who are unable to work for more than 12 months due to a physical, mental or emotional medical condition.
Although evaluating each case might take several months or even years, Social Security can fast-track the process for some cases if they fall under its Compassionate Allowances Program.
This is an initiative designed to streamline the process so that applicants can quickly receive benefits for conditions that are known to cause severe or life-threatening disabilities.
How it Works
The Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced the Compassionate Allowances Program in 2008 with about 50 diseases and conditions, including certain cancers, adult brain disorders and immune system conditions. Today, the list includes a little more than 100 conditions, and by the summer of 2012 it is expected to grow to 165.
“These are diseases that are so severe that we do not need to obtain the applicant's complete work history in order to make a decision, and therefore the process is quicker,” said Diana Varela, a spokesperson for the agency in Washington DC.
SSA is constantly evaluating new conditions to add to the list. You can see most updated version of the diseases and conditions in the Compassionate Allowances Program on the SSA website.
How to Apply
The process to apply for the Compassionate Allowances Program is the same as applying for general disability benefits. However, if the SSA determines that a condition qualifies for the Compassionate Allowances Program, the approval process is much quicker.
You can apply for disability benefits online without having to go to a Social Security office. Generally, you will need to provide the following information:
- General information such as your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, as well as those of your spouse and underage children. Also, you need to provide your bank account information and an additional contact in case you cannot be reached.
- Medical information such as name, address and telephone numbers of doctors, clinics and hospitals where you receive treatment, as well as your employer’s information. Also, the name of the medicines you have taken and medical history, among other things.
How to Get More Information
To find out more information about Social Security benefits visit SocialSecurity.gov or call (800) 772-1213.