Compassionate Allowances: Five Conditions Added to Fast Track

August 23, 2018 • By

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Last Updated: August 23, 2018

Quickly and accurately processing disability claims is important to us. It is through this commitment to you that we use the Compassionate Allowances program to help us identify and fast-track cases where people have diseases that are most likely to be approved for disability benefits.

On August 20, 2018, we added five conditions—Fibrolamellar Cancer, Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome (MMIHS), Megalencephaly Capillary Malformation Syndrome (MCAP), Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System, and Tetrasomy 18p—to this essential list. Additions to the list allow us to ensure that those of you with qualifying disabilities can quickly receive the benefits you need.

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. More than 500,000 people with serious disabilities have been approved through this fast-track disability process, and the list of conditions is currently at 233 and growing. This list includes diseases such as pancreatic cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and acute leukemia.

The Compassionate Allowances program hurries help to those with the most severe conditions. If you, a friend, or family member have a severe condition, please visit our Compassionate Allowances website for more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowance conditions.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Laura A.

    I have sciatica, kidney disease, and a brain disease that causes migraines. How can I qualify for disability? I cannot afford to have an attorney.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Laura. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The (SSI) program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. 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. If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, you can use our online application.

      Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:
      • You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment.
      • You can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer; and
      • You can avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.

      If you are unable to file online, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to make an appointment. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. Thanks!

  2. Glenn E.

    I put in for disability back in June because I had s stroke and I have a drop foot which makes me use a Kane to walk. Since the stroke I lost strength plus I can’t last a long time walking

  3. Everettciz

  4. Everettciz

  5. Dorothy A.

    Dear sirs and mms. (probaably wrong, I am old) I paid my doctor a lot of money last september, but i still did not get a card. Just cancelled check with my $75 state portion, which is surely not all that I had to pay. Lastly, one of YOUR wonderful people dow nloaded my picture from my new drivers license and I thought I wsould get my card by now. did thew online thing, nbut BERY BAD at it. PLEASE help an old olady hurt badly – mulriple slcerosis, psoriatic arthritis, some cancer, (mouth, arm, neck). PLEASE HELP ME! Can’t you just send my card? I am only using this computer right now, it is leaving here and postal is the only thing i have left, other than land line 941-460-6577 – Stolte, Dorothy A. – ****9540. June 12, 1949. PLEASE HELP ME, also need food. living on 1,100 mo, need help, crippled fingers, n9o computer and i have not any e=imail. or text. thank you, dorothy stolte

  6. Craig W.

    This is cool your in trouble, I’m not going to bring the common stuff that should be coved, you guys know better than to post stuff no one understands your job is to help. Where does cancer (Lymphoma) diabetic neuropathy, arthritis, depression, a vascular neucrosis, that lead to five hip replacements, and five years of waiting for SSA to answer one question. I can’t ask the question now, because you’re going to say oh we did take care of that here and pass me around like a motorcycle chick during initiation. If you’re interested chat back, Craig W Johnson

  7. Olga C.

    HELP!!!!!HELP PLEASE!!!!!!
    My son, Richard Roy Johnson is only 42 years old and weights 600+POUNDS. He already granted dissability and is still waiting to become rlegible for MEDICARE…His health is quickly fading and he can NOT wait anylonger if he doesnt get coverage and gets a Bsrriatric Surgery, a Gastro ByPass he will die…Please I beg you DO something, he cant wait til February 2019 to start the 3-6 month process. HELP!
    Olga from Miami, FL

    • Ray F.

      Hello Olga, you may want to check and see if your son is eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include Medicaid, which may help pay for medication that Medicare does not cover. You can get information about services in your area from your local social services office. Or you can visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information.

  8. Jeffrey W.

    First & foremost, I have nothing but respect for the massive volume of work your agency has to process. I am however a bit frustrated because I lost my job due to disability (I was a New York State employee) and am collecting a small pension. I was denied for Social Security, appealed and am anxiously awaiting my hearing date or a favorable on the record decision. I have SEVERAL afflictions that contributed to my disability retirement but no single one is on the compassionate list. Is there any other outlet that I can utilize for emergencies? I applied for my appeal back in March of 2017. Again, I truly appreciate the volume that your agency processes, but is there any way that someone like me with multiple ailments, who has already been deemed permanently disabled by a state agency and am at the point where I am being forced to reduce my visits to my various doctors because I can’t afford the co-pays? For the time being I can afford my prescription co-pays (I retired with good insurance but I am on many medications and even with insurance the co-pays are significant), but I am about three months away from losing everything (i.e.-eviction, judgments for unpaid medical bills, tax penalties/judgments for late payments, etc.) and unless something happens soon, I am not sure how I or where I am going to go next.

    One of my children is under 18 so my denial is also holding up benefits that he is entitled to as well. I am grateful for my state pension but I would have liked to have worked for many more years and since that will not be happening, my pension will remain fairly small with respect to what my lost salary was.

    Any advice you can offer would really be appreciated. Thank you again for all the hard work you guys do to help people at the worst time of their lives. Even though I was denied, I will say that everyone from your agency that I have spoken with (either in person or on the phone) showed compassion and did their best to preserve my dignity. That was especially comforting and, sadly, rare with large agencies.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Jeffrey. We appreciate your positive feedback. Our employees are committed to providing the public with the best service possible.

      We are sorry for the length of time it takes for a hearing. Some individuals may be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state where they live; while they wait for a final determination on their disability claim. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems.

      You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information.

  9. Andrea

    I have my health issues just like many others and definitely a major shortage of support and even less assistance from community support services. I know listing all my ailements and issues here won’t help me or my situation any better. I’d just like to get some sincerity and genuine concern from someone one day when I try to get help. People have become so unempathetic.
    I’d just like to say that YOU matter to someone and You are strong! Don’t give up on You.. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle at some time.

  10. Yolanda S.

    I have had four surgeries since 2016. First stage breast cancer, hip replacement with right knee cartilage repair, and surgery to lift my bladder. Now I am suffering with Sciatica in my left leg. All my complications have been brought on by my osteoarthritis and my L4, L5 in my back are bulging. Would I be qualified for Disability if I have been on Medicare since 2014. I have turned 70 this August 24. I have not tried to set an appointment with Social Security since I was told that ones on SS that we wouldn’t be considered.

    • Vonda V.

      Thank you for your question, Yolanda. When a person has reached his or her full retirement age (Currently 66) and is receiving Social Security retirement, they are not longer eligible for disability benefits. Thanks.

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