Compassion is at the Heart of Our Lifetime Commitment to You

October 25, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: October 25, 2018

" "Social Security is with you through life’s journey, often during times of personal hardship, transition, and uncertainty. We believe that compassion is the cornerstone of our public service commitment. If you suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, time is of the essence when it comes to receiving a decision on your disability application.

Our initial claims process typically takes three to five months, but in some cases, we’re able to expedite the application process through our Compassionate Allowances program. Social Security uses Compassionate Allowances to identify people whose medical condition is so severe that it clearly meets our definition of disability.

For 10 years, our Compassionate Allowances program has helped us identify and fast track cases where people have diseases that are most likely to be approved for disability benefits.

Here are five things you may not know about our Compassionate Allowances program:

  1. Social Security uses cutting-edge technology to identify, evaluate, and quickly process applications with Compassionate Allowances conditions, bringing help to those with the most severe conditions.
  2. Many of the claims in our Compassionate Allowances Program are approved based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis alone; for example, pancreatic cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and acute leukemia diagnoses are fast tracked.
  3. More than 500,000 people with serious disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability process.
  4. The list of Compassionate Allowances conditions is currently at 233 and growing with the addition of five new conditions in August of this year.
  5. If you know about a condition that could be part of our Compassionate Allowances program, you may submit the name of the condition for consideration.

You can visit our Compassionate Allowances website for more information. Also, please help us spread the word on Compassionate Allowances by sharing this post with family and friends.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Saraswathi. K.

    Thanks for caring and working hard for people who need help.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for sharing! Social Security is committed to providing world-class customer service today and in the years to come. We value your input.

  2. Robert L.

    Hello; To whomever this concern
    I am a retired ARMY veteran with a 100% service connected disability. I saw your comment about anyone not being able to work any longer that they may qualify for Social Security Disability, and I wanted to know if this would include based on my current disability? I currently received social security compensation based on my age; I am 66 years old. If someone could contact me and explain how this program work and if I qualify for social security disability.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Robert. First of all, thank you for your service to our country. If you are receiving benefits from the VA, please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different than the requirements for other government programs including veterans benefits. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability.
      Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death.
      In addition to meeting our definition for disability, individuals must also have enough “work credits”. This simply means that you must have worked long enough–and recently enough–under Social Security to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program.
      Also, if a person has reached his or her full retirement age (Currently 66) and is receiving Social Security retirement, they will not be eligible for disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age.
      If you need further assistance, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks!

  3. Caridad E.

    I am a woman of 70 years old , I am dissabled in a wheel chair for more than 20 years, I only receive 75.75. each month with SSI
    Can you increase that amount for me please Thank you for your consideration God blessed you

    • Ray F.

      Hello Caridad. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time. One of our representatives should be able to assist you.
      Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks.

  4. Wade

    The Social Security keeps hurting my feelings. I’m Wade Hinson formerly of Monson Maine, a significant contributor. I’ve invested heavily in our country – but I cannot prove it. My social security numbers have been stolen on numerous occasions as my brain injuries make it impossible to remember them. I’m a veteran of the police and the military – but I don’t get a pension or even medical records to prove this to any caregiver. Compassionate ? Bah humbug.

    • Michelle S.

      Hi Wade, My name is Michelle and please read my comment below dated Nov. 14, 2018. You may find it interesting.

  5. Joy H.

    Why do you think I was treated so rudely when I called SSA earlier today?? I was also told that the address you have for me is wrong but he made no effort to change it!!

    • Ray F.

      Hi Joy. We apologize and we regret to hear you did not receive the level of customer service you expected. We have referred your complaint to our Office of Operations to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary.
      We encourage our customers to create a my Social Security account. With a personal my Social Security account, you can update your address information and manage your benefits.
      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  6. Sylvester D.

    Your actions have changed lives. You are truly who you say you are and I am proud of you. Though I have issues at present regarding my claims but I need to take time and sort the differences out first with my local office before I would contact you about it if the issue is not resolved to my satisfaction. God bless you all and please keep up the good works.


  7. C. N.

    I don’t understand the point of telling us you are being compassionate with our money. We don’t have any choice but to send you ~16% of what we make. I don’t want to feel this way about helping people in need but my need is to understand why you are bragging about it. It’s easy to be compassionate with other people’s money.

    • Karen B.

      This I did not consider, good point.

    • Marc

      How dare you.

  8. Karen B.

    The Towson, Maryland Social Security Office was not very compassionate to my disabled sister when she applied for SSI this year, twice . They decided amongst themselves that she did not want to pursue the second claim, and they “filed” it instead of working it. I welcome any inquiry into this.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Karen. We apologize and regret to hear you and your sister did not receive the level of customer service you expected. For security reasons, we do not have access to your sister’s personal information in this venue. We have referred your complaint to our Office of Operations to follow up and to take corrective action as necessary.
      We appreciate your feedback, and thank you for bringing this to our attention.

      • Karen B.

        Well thank you, I did not expect a reply so I do appreciate you referring our complaint/concern. I hope we can get to the bottom of why my sisters claim was mishandled so that others do not face the same delay.

  9. tony

    Compassionate allowance is good to get these disabled people approved faster, but there are a bunch of lazy people who do not want to work clogging up the system and some of these lazy people are getting approved through fraud.

    • Jody


      • Karen B.

        I agree, see my comment re. SS office Towson Maryland, lets see if anyone reaches out ?

        • debandtoby

          And those of us with genuine need are being treated like trash

    • Marc

      False. False. False. If you actually bothered to read anything on this site about Social Security Disability Insurance you would know how difficult it is even to apply. It takes a minimum of two years, longer in many cases before being approved IF you are approved; the majority of applicants are denied and go through a lengthy a period d even more complicated appeals process. Every step of the way requires extensive documentation of the disability including ALL medical records from et every doctor or provider you’ve seen in the last decade, and that’s extremely difficult and expensive to accomplish. Even the application is extremely difficult to complete; then there are numerous deadlines which are not flexible. If you miss any one of the deadlines your application is denied and you must start the entire process all over. You must also have worked for enough years to qualify even to apply, and your last date of work must be recent enough or you’re out of the application window. Finally, anyone under age 50 will not be approved unless they’ve worked enough years AND hours in those years AND the disability must be so profound that you cannot even perform the activities of daily life without help. In other words, young, healthy people are not eligible to apply for or receive SSDI because there simply hasn’t been enough time to accumulate the necessary numbers of hours/credits – simple mathmateics. Oh, and one more thing: only 40% of applicants are approved. And anyone who is approved is constantly pushed to go to work at least part time; they provide training and work with employers who agree to hire disabled workers. You are repeating false statements you’ve clearly heard from either other people as clueless as you or dishonest politicians and crazy talk show hosts. Opinions are fine, but you would do well to at least try to find out whether what you’re claiming has any basis in fact, especially when the information is right here at your fingertips. For shame!

      • John

        There is so much misinformation in your statements, I would not know where to begin to refute them. Suffice it to say, everyone ignore Marc, he must have a personal ax to grind.

        • Kat

          I agree with John. That comment from Marc was totally wrong in everything that was written. My disability claim went through quickly and easily with a lot of documentation of course. But it did not take two years, it was more like 4 or 5 months. It is not bad in every case. There are some I’m sure but that comment was way off the wall as far as all cases.

          • Fair

            Depends on the severity of the disability as to how quickm it goes thru and I know being 1 that draws SSI from a wreck that shattered 2 vertebra in my spine causing me to lose my legs and a nurse that had me turning myself after bone fusion which made matters worse! I am a para and my upper part is totally wore out from taking every type of manual labor I could since I had the strength nto do what most would never touch but myself I have done everything from office work finishing high school to after that and manual to making the top that goes on the Derby liquor doing all the work from smelting to grading and shipping just didn’t bronze them but there was more and a factory jaob that had me lifting a 25 pound impact to assemble hardware for far gates stretching over into a 55 gallon drum after the lag bolts from a wheelchair! But those in chairs better kiss my azz since I lobbied on public access and was filmed extensively for many colleges for what I could do in a wheelchair that others were afraid to try or do!!

      • Keith B.

        I agree with you. I have been denied four times in the last ten years. The first two, I didn’t have enough evidence of disability. Third time, I was told I have assests above their limit. I own a 16 year old van and a pension that can’t be touched until age 62. I’m 57.
        This last one, even though they acknowledge that I’m disabled, I don’t have enough credits to qualify for disability. If I could have worked, I would like to be. According to the medical professionals I’ve been diagnosed by, that would be detrimental to the health I’m trying to maintain. SSA doesn’t seem to care about that. I was told by an attorney, that the two appeals that I made, both judgement were identical. The judge has scripted denials. I was going to be denied before I made it to the court house. I went as far as writing SSA to ask for suggestions about what I should do. “We can’t answer that” was the reply. Compassionate support hasn’t been mentioned. Didn’t know it existed.

    • Doug

      Amen I tell you there are more flat out lazy people trying to get on this than need to be, well I tell you this if there was any way I could go myself back to work I would in a heart beat. It just makes me sick to know I had to pay into Medicare and now when I use it they still charge me out the wa-zoo to get any medical work done.

  10. Diana B.

    I am hopeful Social Security has changed over the years, my friend had a form of Leukemia and was treated w both chemo/radiation. She asked for social security benefits, after all, she had worked for over 40 yrs, but you denied her. Social Security told her there were jobs she could do as an RN that didn’t require her to work as a floor nurse.
    She worked thru chemo/radiation, the disease went into remission for a short period and then it came back. She NEVER got to use her Social Security benefits. I hope you have changed and that you show more ppl w life threatening diseases more compassion, because you certainly didn’t show her any.

    • Lisa T.

      This is what I Hate about our Government! I MEAN THEY COULD HAVE AT LEAST GIVEN HER SHOT TERM DISABILITY, until She Was READY TO GO BACK TO WORK!!
      People like this that can get by in the system is what irritate me when other people who need it like this young lady and didn’t get it that irritates me!! I know in 2004 I could not walk I had no use of my right hand or arm I was in severe pain and they would not approve me for disability I would literally have to pick up my right hand to get it to move. I could not stand or sit more than like 8 minutes at a time but they said there was a job out there for me I told him to please let me know what kind of job I could do that I didn’t have to sit or stand more than 8 minutes at a time please let me know what job that was they couldn’t tell me? I am so sorry that your friend ended up living her life and pain and with nothing, fighting more ways than one:-( that is a terrible situation and you’re right our government needs to find some compassion some way or another

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