Compassionate Allowances: Fast-Track Help to Those Who Need It Most

November 6, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: November 6, 2017

two metal snakes We are committed to processing disability claims as quickly as possible in all cases, but our initial claims process typically takes three to four months. 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.

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 they obviously meet our disability standards. Under the Social Security Act, we consider you disabled if you can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.

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. Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill said it best: “Social Security is committed — now and in the future – to continue to identify and fast-track diseases that are certain or near-certain to be approved for disability benefits.”

Today, almost 500,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability process, which has grown to include a total of 228 conditions. Recently, three new Compassionate Allowances conditions were added to the list: CACH — Vanishing White Matter Disease-Infantile and Childhood Onset Forms, Congenital Myotonic Dystrophy, and Kleefstra Syndrome.

Our Compassionate Allowances program speeds help to people with severe conditions. If you or someone you know has a severe disabling condition, don’t wait. Go to our Compassionate Allowances website for more information about the program, including a list of all the conditions.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. charles k.

    my name is charles kanulo,l am need of help.

  2. LINDA E.

    The is enough to make me want to scream when I applied for disability, your the messy system of Texas dragged my claim out. MY DISABILITIES then as now, were defects from BIRTH. YET, the TEXAS messy system ignores you, UNLESS you have an ATTORNEY at the time. WHY THE HELL, should anyone need the assistance of, and the pay for one, when they can present MEDICAL PROOF of their claim? Our governor’s disability was the result of his actions. Yet, he is qualified as disabled.
    My claim was ignored, until AFTER I HAD APPLIED FOR EARLY RETIREMENT at age 62, THEN I received a decision that stated of course that I NOW WASN’T ELIGIBLE.
    NO wonder GOD has slammed our state so hard. There is sooo much GREED and corruption here. Sad, sad, sad.

  3. Patricia A.

    Yes, I’m needing a print off of my, & my husband income payment, for verification purposes. THANK You.

    • Patricia A.


    • Ray F.

      Hi Patricia. If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security (SSI) Income or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online by using your my Social Security account. Please keep in mind that you can only create a my Social Security account using your own personal information and for your own exclusive use. We hope this information helps.

  4. Nora V.

    I been suffering with PDSD and anxiety disorder and severe manic depression plus and continues seeing medical Dr’s for surgery’s

    • Ray F.

      Hi Nora. We pay disability benefits 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. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. To learn more about the process we use to decide if you are disabled under our rules, visit our Disability Planner: How We Decide If You Are Disabled. Also, you may find our listing of impairments useful. Thanks.

  5. Muhammad S.

    A us citizen has died recently in USA. His native country was Pakistan and he had got usa citizenship. His spouse and child have also recently got green cards. they ve shifted back to Pakistan with dead body of the deceased. Please inform that how much facilities and incentives could the widower and her 4 years son get if they want to reside in USA or in Pakistan?

    • Ray F.

      We are sorry for your loss. Typically, the funeral director notifies us of an individual’s passing by contacting the local Social Security office. To verify this information was reported, and to see if family members are eligible for survivor’s benefits, the widow can call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Or she can contact the local Social Security office directly.
      Individuals living outside the United States may still be eligible for Social Security benefits. For assistance related to Social Security benefits, they must contact their local U.S. embassy or consulate. We hope this information helps.

  6. Gary G.

    Yes I’ve have mediim needin.
    Bills to pay and really I got yave the money cang yiuvhehelp megary

    cal bills that we can’t he we garydarc

  7. Angel C.

    I am DISGUSTED!!!! I have been working with multiple people via the phone and two people in the local Broward County Office. I was receiving Workers Compansation until May 2017. It was discountinued. I meet with Shawn at the local office with documentation and he required additional information that he told me once received he would have his manager do a manager to manager phone call with the processing center to expidite the process of getting my SSDI up to its full amount. Also he would call me for a update. That was July non of which happened. The information he requested was faxed to him on August 10th and remaind there until he finally returned my phone call after I left several messages on August 22nd. Again told same manager to manager and update song and dance. Again in September after multiple calls to find out that it’s still processing in the processing center he returned a call to me where I expressed my frustration because he had initially told me that it would be processed within 30-60 days. I had requested that he email my landlord as due to this situation I am trying to face eviction he took the time to write down their email address as well as mine so I could be ccd on the email and he took her telephone number. I gave it a week no email. So I proceeded to again go to the office and request a manager to find out what the delay was only to find out that unbenost to Shawn there was a release form that I was supposed to sign and a specific form for the insurance company to fill out. The manager was going to call the insurance company directly fax it to them immediately so they could return it and again with the manager to manager phone call oh and SS does not do emails other than within the offices. At that point the manager was going to call me back and I find out today that the person that handles my case at the insurance company has been out since October 1st. Wouldn’t that manager have known that based on the call she told me she was going to personally make. Now I know why no update from the manager. At this point back to SS office I go with much frustration about being told things would be done and nothing gets followed through on. I’m one more visit away from filing and attempting to make an appointment with the Commissioner of Social Security. All the years that you work and the money certainly comes directly out of our paycheck but try and get it in a reasonable time frame when you are really in a bind and good luck, as this has been going on since July.

    • Ray F.

      We apologize for the inconveniences, Angel. For security reasons, we do not have access to personal information in this venue. In this situation, it is best to continue working directly with the local Social security office. To submit your comment, complaint or suggestion, you can write to us or send us an email message. Thanks.

  8. Bradley R.

    Good day,
    Hopefully you can answer a question for me.i have been trying for almost 2 yrs to get my disability. I am awaiting my hearing, I have just received my VA disability, of 10%,I broke my back on July 5 2017. Just had back surgery and King’s daughters hospital got my back at 50%.i have a psychiatrist at the VA hospital, he acknowledges that with my mental compassity, I am not able to work. I wanted to no if social security can expedite my claim. Thank you for taking time to read this.hoping for a return message.

    • Ray F.

      Bradley, the length of time it takes to get a hearing could vary from case to case. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. The good news is that we are trying to conduct many of our hearings through video teleconferencing (VTC) to speed up the process. Visit our “Hearing And Appeals” web page for more information, and continue working with your local hearing office on specific questions about your case. Thanks!

  9. Margie L.

    My claim for disability has been approved by Judge Joseph Liken on 10-27-2017. I would like to know how long it will be before I start receiving my benefits.

    • James

      I was approved in August 2017 and am still waiting for my payments to be processed. Every time I call I get told it is still being processed. So I guess that means we are all supposed to hurry up and die so they do not have to pay out any SSDI benefits.

      • Ray F.

        Hi James. The length of time it takes to begin receiving payments after receiving a favorable decision in a hearing varies. Approved claims are randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. We care about our customers and are working as fast as we can. For security reasons, we do not have access to information about your account in this venue.
        Please continue working with your local office, and if necessary, ask to speak with the manager to see how we can help to expedite the process of your claim. Thanks.

        • James

          Hello Ray, Thank you for your response. I have asked on several occasions to speak to a manager. To date none have been available when I am able to get through. Asked to be called back, and the same response. NONE. It is very difficult to believe you (SSA) are here for us. That you hide behind “security” to not address issues or questions is shallow at best. You can easily reply to “security” sensitive questions or issues in the message center of “my Social Security. That is unless your internal system is also rife with insecurity. Or you could send an email and ask to be called at a phone number that actually has a person attached to it and not voice mail. But then I suppose I am expecting too much from my government and the men and women who work for SSA.

  10. Anna V.

    Quick question: What situations in title II benefits don’t involved the 2-year waiting period for Medicare? Thanks!

Comments are closed.