Disability, SSI

Compassionate Allowances Speed Help to People with Severe Disabilities

February 11, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

photograph of a man in a wheelchairDisability can happen to anyone. If you suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, time is of the essence when it comes to applying for Social Security disability benefits. Although Social Security is committed to processing disability claims as quickly as possible in all cases, our initial claims process typically takes three to five months.

Because compassion is a cornerstone of our public service commitment, 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, 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.

Social Security pays benefits under two programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Our disability program provides benefits and Medicare eligibility to workers with disabilities who paid into the Social Security trust fund through payroll taxes. Under some circumstances, children and family members can receive disability benefits. SSI pays benefits to disabled persons of all ages with limited income and resources. SSI benefits are not paid out of the Social Security trust fund.

Farber’s disease and Tay Sachs disease in children, and advanced pancreatic and ovarian cancer in adults are examples of the 223 conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list. Others include Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which cause rapid brain deterioration in otherwise healthy adults. For a complete list of the Compassionate Allowances conditions, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

The Compassionate Allowances initiative also provides grants to medical researchers to identify other conditions that may qualify for this list. This initiative is just one of many ways Social Security works to help provide you with peace of mind when disability happens. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. MarthA F.

    I have stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to my brain. My prognosis was a median of 2 1/2 years.
    My application process was streamlined by a compassionate SSI worker, who did most of the work and was approved within 2 weeks.

    • Marc

      Thank you for your comment. At least someone here knows what the program is about.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for sharing, Martha. We are glad our representatives were able to help.

      • Jessica

        I will be helping my mother apply soon for the compassionate allowance program. She has Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA) which is on the compassionate list. In the social security office are there specific compassionate SSI in each office? Thank you

        • Lindan

          Once the SSA office receives such a claim they flag it. Then when it goes to your state’s DDS it is given immediately to an experienced and efficient DDS examiner to take prompt action. They will write to, phone, and FAX requests to your doctors. When the records are received immediate action will be taken to make a decision and any state and federal reviews will also be expedited. This is the process in each office.

          • Janet

            I was not even allowed to apply with stage 4 cancer, said my husband made to much. I asked about my retirement they said I had to wait until I was 62,by then I will be dead.

        • Ray F.

          Thank you for your question, Jessica. All your mother has to do is apply for Disability Benefits. If her medical condition meets the criteria of our Compassionate Allowances program, we will then try to expedite the application process. Under the Social Security Act, we consider a person disabled if he or she can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death. You can help her apply online, which is quick and easy. She can also apply by calling our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or she can contact her local Social Security office directly.

  2. Felix M.

    I’m already on SSI. I can’t work anymore because of arthritis. Can I get a disability on top of SSI? ??

    • Marc

      You are receiving disability through SSI. If you are eligible for SSDI you can apply, but so far, every comment above is complaining about not receiving SSDI and it’s because they are not eligible even to apply. These are two separate programs for two completely different groups of people, and that was explained in the very initial paragraph of the article. Why does no one understand this concept? This website is so comprehensive and contains every last detail you could possibly need to find out about both programs. SSI isn’t even Social Security, it’s simply administered by them for the sake of efficiency, and it works. Not everyone is eligible for SSDI because it’s disability INSURANCE that you pay into during your working years. If you did not contribute, if you did not work, if you did not work enough to have contributed enough, if you are able to do ANY kind of work, then you are NOT eligible. It is only for those who did work but a SERIOUS disability forced them to stop and they’ll most likely NEVER be able to work again. Why is that so hard to understand? The article explains that clearly. SSI on the other hand is available to EVERYONE who has a serious disability. It has nothing to do with your work, and does NOT come out of the Social Security fund that the workers paid into. However, in order to qualify for SSI you must be disabled AND very low income. Hopefully this will stop some of the unfounded and unfair complaints and criticism about a valuable system that is both very necessary and very well run. Don’t blame Social Security because you aren’t eligible to apply. That’s like a garbage collector blaming a hospital because they won’t hire him as a transplant surgeon. Duh.

      • CD

        Marc I really don’t think you need to come at them like that let explain something to you being in pain and sick sometimes makes it hard for you to understand things you being rude is very unnecessary is your job to explain to them if they don’t understand so to sit there and say to them what part you don’t understand you don’t understand why it’s so hard for them not to understand I think he was out of line if it’s a problem with you doing your job then maybe someone else should get on here and answer the questions. I feel you old everyone an apology that was not right how you spoke to them when you are hurting you are hurting maybe they don’t understand maybe he takes them a little while longer to understand or get an understanding of what you are say everyone might not be like me and you maybe you need to have a little more patients again I think you owe them apology and your attitude I didn’t like it at all and I’m quite sure they didn’t either and if there is any kind away I can get to your supervisor I’m quite sure Day would like you either. Marc you have a nice day and I hope the rest of your answers be very pleasant from here on out.

        • Ray F.

          Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. Please be aware that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

        • Kristin L.

          I agree, I have a MBA from prestigious university and my disability makes
          My memory doesnt work like it used to. I’ve had so many new things I was expected to understand, on powerfully pain killers. Dealing with several diff doctors, my private disability coverage company, my employer who is trying.g to screw me out of benefits, I hurt too much to walk downstairs more than once a day, ETC. NOT ALL OF US ARE SCAMMING PRETENDING WE ARE ON A PERMANANT VACATION.

          We may be experiencing financial issues unfamiliar to us. Fighting losing my home several times. Fiance cancelled wedding date and got scarce but kept checking no to ensure I wasn’t getting lump sum check bc he would want his part. I can’t enjoy my granddaughter. My mom has bone cancer, yet physically I can’t drive that far but even so y car is unreliable bc repairs have had to be postponed.

          So. Please. Give us a break on the attitude. I’m having memory problems too and not sure how bad it is.

        • Marc

          Excuse you. I am acutely aware of what it feels like to be sick and in pain,
          etc. I myself am in this same situation. working all my life and then becoming disabled through no fault of my own before retirement age. I too lost everything waiting fpr a determination; my jome, marriage, creditcard and all my belongings. I’m alone with no family to take me in, unlike some hete who live with relatives. I don’t qualify for foid stamps or any other government assistance so it’s just SSDI. Now Congress is cutting that by 20% across the board in preparation to “phase it out” completely; their position is that only people “too lazy to work” are “defraudong” the system. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the more people complain and cling to their stubborn beliefs you see here (“only minorities/refugees/illegals get approved – which is FALSE) and garbage like that, the more ammunition Congress has to screw everybody out of it by getting rid of an “unpopular” program that was just fine but people didn’t understand it. That’s why I tried to explain again, in a clear, concise way, what these two programs are. My post was most definitely not “rude,” nor overly harsh. People clearly either don’t understand these programs and/or they don’t bother to read the information, then they complain and blame SSA for their problems. And that risks the program for all of us. If they’re able to get to this blog, they can certainly click around and find the answers yo all their questions. No excuse. None. I offer no apology to anyone, nor does anyone here deserve one. TAKE a little responsibility; I’m in the same boat, but I’m not complaining. I’m reading the FAQs and checking out the vast amount of information here. Anything I don’t understand, I will call or go to the SSA office. And that’s what anybody else can do; certainly if they’re able to get here and type a big complaint.

      • David

        Thank you Marc for giving everyone a reality check. Despite the way Marc presented the information, it was all factual. People DO need to understand the eligibility requirements. With the help of these boards, I was able to complete everything, without a lawyer, in 5 weeks. It can be done, but you need to make it as easy on DDS as possible. I had 14 unsuccessful work attempts in the last 4 years. I took any job I could find, utilizing my college degree or my commercial drivers license, but my mental health had deteriorated due to combat PTSD. My evidence included several emergency room visits over a 4 year period and medical records that were clear and concise. I stripped the records of all the fluff; leaving only the most pertinent information. I hand delivered my documents when requested within 24 hours to my local SS office. My jobs were varied, from Truck Driver to Retail Management to Pizza Delivery Driver to Waiter, I did it all. This helped my case substantially and because I had all my ducks in a row, I believe I was able to be expedited. So far, mine is the fastest approval I have been able to find.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Felix. Generally, when you apply for disability benefits, we take applications for both programs. The Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a needs-based program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Income program, you must be “currently insured” or have worked long enough–and recently enough—under Social Security. to qualify for disability benefits. Credits are the “building blocks” we use to find out whether you have the minimum amount of covered work to qualify for each type of Social Security benefits.

  3. Antone R.

    PTSD should be on this list, the military can find you unfit for duty then military retire you and because of your condition you can not work and to top it off you have to fight with the VA for every bit of percentage. I am 52 with a disability rating of 80% (70% PTSD) have chronic back pain, worked as a fire fighter also in a freezer warehouse, contributed over 35 years into social security and can not work due to my conditions but have been denied 2 times by social security because someone feels I do not meet the criteria. I am living on my VA disability and can just about pay my bills. I am not waiting on my hearing date.

    • Marc

      Why not look at the criteria and you will understand the reason you do not meet them? The Social Security website lists in great detail EXACTLY what the criteria are for every condition.

  4. Dale B.

    At the time I applied for SSI,I had severe back,hip and knee problems and could no longer work.I became homeless because I could not pay my rent.I lived in my car for 8 months,then with a stranger for about a year.I was then diagnosed with AML Leukemia.5 months before my court date,my lawyer convinced me to waive my back pay and she would talk a judge into reading my case and approving me early because of the cancer.Worse mistake I ever made.I lost nearly $30,000.!!3 months later I got my 1st monthly check and a HUD low income apt. For that I am thankful.But I regret giving up the backpay that could have fulfilled my dream of maybe buying an old farmhouse and having some chickens and a garden.If there was any way to reverse the waiver I would do it in a heart beat.I`m 61 yrs. old and would like to be happy the years I have left…

  5. luis s.

    i have chronic kidney disease and my renal function is in 25% but i dont have the credits complete,what happen in that case?

    • Marc

      Then you are not eligible. If your income meets the required level, apply for SSI. SSDI is ONLY for people who worked and paid in for a certain amount of time.

    • Ray F.

      We also pay disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. SSI is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled individuals based on financial need. Generally, when you apply for disability benefits, we take applications for both programs. Remember that 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. To see if you are eligible and to schedule an appointment to apply for SSI at your local office, call us at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state that you live. 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 or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

    • Chris

      If you are on dialysis or need a kidney transplant there may be help for you under the ESRD program. Your best bet is to contact SSA and schedule an appointment to discuss it with them. The 800-772-1213 can do that for you.

  6. Eduardo J.

    I really hope that you review all medical records again. I have no income and I am forced to live with my parents . I am just a hindrance to my family. I do not have any credit card to use not even one I do not have any credit card to use not even one dollar in my wallet . I am unable to put gasoline in my car. Very seldom my parents will lend me a few dollars for gas and let’s me have a place to sleep and eat. I am an American living in poverty, while our government shuts their eyes on cases like mine. I plead once more please review my case carefully. I am 53 years old with chronic pain.

    • vbutler

      Go to legal aid and get a lawyer

    • Kristin L.

      I was in same boat and down to $6. Forget credit ,- ppl don’t understand how much THEY depend on credit but when you lose it you realize it was your buffer. Took over 4 years to get $1 from SS. Had private disability coverage that took 18 months to start but they kept turning it off and making me reprove u my case. They helped Geico cancel earned disability benefits bc the private insurer of Ltd had declared the week before Christmas – sent in letter – I no longer qualified and to show up to work the MON after Xmas. Knowing doctors were on vacation. If I returned, that minute would restart everything I’d been waiting for. I got approval from Geico leave admin for additional two weeks to get my Dr involved but I received seperation letter bf that date. They cancelled my health ins on Jan 1st also before the date I had to appeal with form from Dr.

      I had asked for approval of extension of deadline, was told I didn’t need it that our email served that purpose. I said I’d still feel better with it in writing but they responded by copying previous email saying their email was proof enough.

      No lawyer would take case bc Geico does not settle, they know that, told me that, and said they had teams of lawyers chomping at bit for experience.

      I was abandoned by everyone during this process. Even at food stamp office when I only filed AFTER I WAS DOWN TO SIX DOLLARS. Took the over 6 weeks to get functional card in my hand. Does everyone have to get motorized statements from anyone who loaned them cash in form of check and then say they were refusing to help me eat any longer? I was humiliated.

      • Kristin L.

        Pd I have broken my foot now, walk w walker on side of foot, in great pain, my foot is fusing back wrong and I can’t stand barefoot. All bc my ins was taken away unfairly. Medicare said they r reviewing older claim to see if they will pay but ortho Dr won’t see me before I pay $800 even though I’ve paid over $300,000 for surgeries. Afraid I’m gonna sue bc their ppwk was so screwed up it made me look like a liar at times. Dr wrote note explaining it was computer issue making assumptions if Dr didn’t specifically Mark something. (Like they’ve had me pregnant for years).physically I can’t have sex but they don’t know or care. It’s getting urgent I see doctor bc seriously I think it’s fusing in broken position and I don’t have copay money. (My shrink today was $68 with $375 in scripts). All of this stress is getting to me – I’d appreciate a answer.

  7. Eduardo J.

    I have been waiting for SSDI to approve my social security benefits since Dec. 4,2013. I have not received any benefits since then. I had two spinal surgeries due to stenosis of my spine. Every day I live in chronic pain and no one seems to understand even my orthopedic surgeon. I have 14 screws in my back and two more stenoic herniated disks needs to be fixed thru surgery but I have to undergo pain management prior to receiving my third spinal stenosis. My credit score of 805 is down to 575 because I am behind on my bills . My credit score of 805 is now down to 575 because I am behind on my bills. I am not receiving any assistance from the government after 30 years of contributing to Social Security . Please tell me where is the compassion here . I use ice packs in my back so it numbs the pain that I suffer from , but I still get a denial because I do not meet the requirements from the letter I received
    last week . I need monetary help. Compassion please look at my medical records again . Respectfully,
    Eduardo J Serrano

    • John O.

      It sounds like you were technically denied for lack of insured status. Compassion has nothing to do with the work requirement of working 5 of the last 10 years before the onset of your disability.

      • Josh

        where do you get “that sounds like a technical denial”??? He said he worked for 30 years, and he said he was hoping SSA would look at his medical records again. Sounds more like he needs to file an appeal and get a second look.

    • Eswheeless

      Go to gofundme.com

      • Dorothea M.

        You mean, go to GoFundMe and beg family. Friends and their friends and make your self more pathetic and a waste then we already are? If we was claiming to be an immigrant refugee, we would get all the relief we need! I’m convinced I will die before I get help. If I don’t, I will share the story. But. It’s beyond ridiculous now! Nowhere to turn and enduring a painful. Miserable existence! Prayers for you all.

    • crawford

      You are not alone. It is a bass backward broken system by the ones who were in place to protect our interests. ‘For the greater good’ and ‘our way of life’ 2 phrases to be
      Aware of !

  8. DHFabian

    When low- wage workers become disabled, what happens to them? They can apply for disability. The last I heard, the process — from date of application to receipt of first check (noting that most applications are denied, and one must go through the appeals process) — takes a minimum of a full year. In the past, people were able to turn to welfare to be able to survive during this period. Actual welfare ended back in the 1990s. What happens to people faced with similar circumstances today?

    • John O.

      Anyone can apply for disability, the wage level determines the payment amount or if you’re insured except for SSI. An agency of each State makes the medical decision, so the time will vary. About 25% of all initial claims are approved. About 1/3 are denied for technical reasons such as not being insured (insufficient work activity). And you are correct, many claims take over a year to process through the hearings level. Welfare programs are administered by the State were cut back in the 90’s but have not been eliminated. They’ve have in fact greatly expanded to pre 90’s levels under the current administration.

      • sema

        Dear John..

    • Nancy

      Yes, I don’t know the answer but I have the same question!

      • crawford

        You are going to be denied period. 99% or more will have to hire a lawyer, who gets paid from you and also by the SS. Your great grandparents paid into this system your grandparents,your parents and you do ! No choice. The excuses they spew are lies. The money paid into this system has been stolen and never replaced. It by rights should never be bankrupt.If you hear this is not a ‘intentitlement’ that is another lie. This system is meant to be insurance for breaking your back building this greatest country. You will be denied depending on the state you live in and the knowledge of a judge and others who never worked a honest day of hard physical labor. You will spend more time writing/ filling paperwork than you will looking for a job you can do being disabled, that do not exist. So just bend over and take it. It does not matter one bit if your physician states you’re not able to do the work you’ve done most of your working life, if you can answer a phone, type, or use a computer, you are not disabled. But if you can’t read or speak English you have a chance. You are more likely to win the lottery than win a case with the SS.

        • David

          Damn. Is this a bad time to tell you that I was approved in 5 weeks?

          • Theresa L.


        • Dying w.

          Well stated Crawford! And if someone is a dishonest lazy fraud, that hasn’t paid squat into SS…they most always get approved…first time around too! But those who have diligently worked to keep from becoming homeless and paid into this “system” for 35+ years, worsening their condition & disease (for which there is no cure and will NEVER get better, with factual & evidentiary medical proof, is more often than not, denied. They are indeef waiting for you to die. Thwn when you can do it no more, they can givd your $ you died working for to some frauds who know how to “work” an already broken system. It is corrupt and disgusting!

    • Trevor

      I quit work dec 2014….I applied in April 2015…was denied in end of September… I appealed Oct… And was approved a week ago Feb 5.

      • Orlando

        I guess it depends on medical conditions, because I applied almost the same time as you but I am still waiting for a Judge hearing. That can take years,

      • dreday

        I have not worked since 2009,started with knee surgery, ankle pain, depression. Now arachnoid cyst on brain, pudendal neuralgia, arachnoiditis, chondromalacia of left knee, seizure disorder, cartilage disorder, scoliosis, lumbar spondylosis, lumbosacral radiculitis, headaches, dizziness, vision problems, 8 psychiatrists, 4 rheumatologist, 3 neurologist, 3 pcp’s, and 4 orthopedic later ,7 denials and going. Wasted 5 yrs with one lawyer this is second one and been denied again?

      • Cicily J.

        Did u hire a lawyer ? Whay state are u in? And thank u for the positive feedback also my i ask what is ur conditon. im trying to help me husband. This is so hard and shouldbnt be

    • Ray F.

      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 result in death. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people aged 65 and older who have limited income and resources. SSDI benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Disabled individuals may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which they live. 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 or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information.

    • Anna

      They become broke, homeless, and either live in the streets, begging or if lucky, have family who will take care of them until disability is finally granted. It took mine 6 years to get through the appeal process. (95% of applications are automatically denied and must go through the appeal process.) Don’t even try to apply without a lawyer, it will be denied automatically. I lost everything, including my home and lived in my vehicle with help from family and friends and by the grace of God, I survived.

      • Lindan

        35% of people are allowed at the initial level and then another 12 per cent at he reconsideration level. No one is “automatically denied”. If you are denied at the recon level then it may be wise to get a lawyer. Otherwise you are wasting your money and in many cases delaying your case .

        • Mita

          Thanks to Reagan, in the 1980, SS was sued because they established a policy to deny 100% of the applicants. Those that did not appeal became our homeless. Thanks to that lawsuit they can’t deny 100, but they try to stay in the 90’s.

      • crawford

        You are not alone. It is a bass backward broken system by the ones who were in place to protect our interests. ‘For the greater good’ and ‘our way of life’ 2 phrases to be
        Aware of !

      • David

        Come on guys, this is not helping anyone here. I have been looking at these blogs for my entire process, and basically they’ve turned into bitch-fests. How about we don’t claim for 45 different ailments? That may speed things up a bit…

    • Lisa

      Well for someone like me who is going on my third back surgery with still no guarantees of success. And Doctors that refuse to help a patient get disability we end up homeless and in even worse shape than need because of the conditions of my last place I had to abandon all belongings so here I am doing more damage to my back sleeping on the floor because I can’t afford a place of my own let alone a bed.

  9. Inez G.

    What can I do if I have a cancer that is not curable be decide to take another option that would allow me to continue working until I can’t no longer. Would this be a good case for disability?

    • John O.

      Figure it out. The definition of disability is the inability to perform any work for which you are suitably trained or educated or a condition that will result in death within 12 months. You should be aware that there is a 5 month waiting period from the time the disability begins until you can receive the first payment. SSI has no waiting period but has a means test.

    • Lindan

      If you work and earn less than a thousand dollars or so a month you can still qualify for regular Social Security. If you are out of work for thirty days and then go back for less than three months but quit due to your condition they can find you disabled as of the date you first left work. This is all contingent on your condition being actually disabling per SSA criteria.

      • Amanda

        Unfortunately as long as you are working you are unable to file for disability. You have to be out of work or expected to be out of work for at least a year before you can file. Hope this helps.

        • Trevor

          That’s not true! You can file anytime! I quit work December 2014 and filed april 2015 and was approved at 100% in Feb 2016. My back pay starts from June 1st 2015 because January thru May(5 months) is the qualification period and you don’t get paid for those months…so actually I could have filed anytime during those first 5 months I was off work…you can even file for disability while your working but the rules say you have to be off work 5 months to qualify! You can file online…

          • Steve

            …if you work but earn under the SGA, you can file.

          • p b.

            again – this is false as if you have a diagnosis of stage four metastatic breast cancer and bone cancer – unfortunately you will never be able to submit apply for this claim benefit unless you are under the age of 65. There is amendment 2 which was passed but – if you are over the age of 65 – you do not qualify for this benefit at all – so unfair and what a joke – yes bait and switch – try calling social security and be prepared to be on the phone about 2 hours before anyone answers regardless of time you call. And then when you get connected – you get a rep who knows nothing and won’t get a supervisor or someone who knows anything – because it is a call center lined with novices who don’t know anything

        • Ray F.

          Thank you for your comment, Amanda. The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. 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. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled. A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2016, the SGA limit is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability.

          • Bella

            September 2014 my husband had to quit his job as a mechanic for 24years had its toll of medical issues prolonged standing, sitting and bending due to carpal tunnel in both hands/wrist, spinal problems, sleep apnea, migraines, ankle & knee inflammation problems which if I’m not mistaken are all included in the list of SSA disabilities. Being considerate on the processing time SSA would take after many months a decision came back as denied because he can still “WORK”…Okay SSA said he can still work…tried to apply entry level clerk “paper clip pusher job” no luck, store greeter still no luck and last but not least even hamburger flipper …why is this ? because many of these workers admittingly “aging” will not be accepted for work due to “high maintenance already” though after 24years as TAXPAYING citizens with appropriate contributions to whatever law mandates getting your SSDI is like looking for a needle in hay stack but people who had little to none of these contributions are approved due to “compassion” …after getting denied by a DDS the phone never stopped ringing from Disability lawyers …Should we avail of their services to get things approved ? Please I do need a definite answer from Social security and not just an answer ” That is your choice and your right..”…BTW may I also mention that this person has NHL due to DBCL…Kindly post your recommendation what to do in this situation appeal again and wait for many months or hire the lawyer …Many pepole I’m sure would like to know the SSA’s answer because I’m not the only one in this situation.

          • Ray F.

            Hello Bella, we are sorry to hear that your husband’s application for disability benefits did not go the way you had hoped. The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. 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 your husband does not agree with our decision, he has the right to file an appeal. He can file an appeal online. He must make the request within 60 days from the date he received the notice of denial. The choice to use representation is solely his decision and he will have the choice to decline representation when filing the appeal. We hope this information helps.

          • Constance

            I have depression chronic pain fibromyalgia and just got denied by SS for the FOURTH time!
            This Soo hard breaking to me. I had two different lawyers. I even emailed Compassionate. But got no reply. I appeal after appeal after appeal.
            I can barley get our of bed.
            My husband is hard broken too he just try not to show.
            What kind if life is this without your benefits?
            I worked since I was 14years old. Now 53.
            This is a very bad situation.

        • Joyce

          what if I have to struggle to make it to work every day, because I don’t have nothing or noone to fall back on until my disability gets started. I’ll be homeless by the time it gets started. What can I do.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Inez. If you are working in 2016 and your earnings average more than $1,130 a month(or $1,820 for blind applicants), generally, you cannot be considered disabled. In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. You may find our listing of impairments useful. 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 result in death. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you think you are disabled under our rules, you can apply for disability benefits online. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local office for further assistance.

  10. carl h.

    I got hurt ankle from encounter with crimminals need help with bed student senior handicap patients hat might help share it until well or schooled send email to

    • T.H.


      • Joy L.

        I earned my money! I’ve waited for three years too. I agree with what you said!

    • J. S.

      Compassionate Allowance is nothing more than a bait and switch program. Jim Borland has no idea what actual FO offices are doing. Do not believe anything you read written by SSA about this program. It’s a scam. Though it sounds wonderful on paper, you will never get approved, even when your disease is listed and you submit biopsy results, many ct reports, and pet scans. The goal is to have people die so they don’t have to pay out disability. False advertising Mr. Borland.

      • Victoria

        We applied for fast track approval, with a disability on the compassionate allowances list. SSDI was approved in less than 30 days.

        Although we did the work (researched rules on SSA website, gathered records, and kept derailed notes of EVERYONE we saw or talked with). We also had an elder law attorney help make sure all paperwork was correct. It worked in our case.

        • T R.

          My husband went to att. He was diagnosed stage 4 renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) masses throughout his body he was only approved as disabled he didn’t get his 1st benefits till he passed away on 12/28. Only for us to be told hes only getting benefits for nov and dec and not what he should of gotten with compassionate allowance.

          • mimi

            how long did he live after diagnosis? my husband has it too- prayers for you

      • Nina

        I have stage 4 breast cancer. I got my first check with in a month using the compassionate program.

    • Michael D.

      This all is a fucking joke..they don’t help shit..there a scam an I’ve been fighti.g woth lawyer’s for yrs still nothing..an im been off work 4 yrs..there all quacks..an liers

      • Michael D.

        I hope they all get fired..I been writing TRUMP about there wrong doings..they have proof im disabled bit do nothing..got to wait a yr an a half.to see a judge.. I have five hemorrhaged vertebrae in my lower back with bone fragments floating around I can’t get my blood sugar bowl 300 the last 3 years and I got diabetic foot pain and hand numbness and two or three other things I don’t want to mention that labels me disabled they won’t do shit my struggle everyday to make ends meet so we’re not homeless they know this they know my problem yet there is no help if you think that you’re going to rely on this Administration help you you are fucking wrong. So good luck cuz you won’t get no help from them people

        • Michael D.

          Look at it this way if law enforcement had proof I committed a crime I would be in jail the Social Security Disability Administration has had proof that I’m disabled and still they put me off to see if judge is going to take another year-and-a-half which is going to be too where I’ll probably die before I ever see anything they have which means my wife has to pull will build your brand everything while I lay here and die like a piece of shit they know this and they do not care you will not get nothing from these people they pick and choose who they want to and if you give them a little bit of grief they will laugh in your face and do absolutely nothing. They’ve had proof on disabled for 4 years and actually need help that actually took x-rays of my knee when it’s my back I ain’t even should I help knee problem. They just did that so I can say nothing’s wrong with me. Cuz there’s nothing wrong with my knee my back is broken vertebrae Jenny with piece of bone Freeman’s foot round my spinal cord which can cause me to lose my legs these people are sorry pieces of shit and before I die completely I’m going to go in there office and let him watch me die everyday so Buck Up Buttercup you’ll get to see me full fledge

    • Tiffany D.

      I am sitting at. the foodstamp on Semoran blv.orlando , fl. 32822 I been sitting since 9am. the employees just help the puerto rican and people and not me is African American they are showing favoritism to there race.., it will be addressed and no longer ignored this abuse is in housing jobs and healthcare on African Americans.,., We want some answers. Feb.2017 2017

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