What the Compassionate Allowances initiative means for you -- II

In the previous post, our blog discussed the unfortunate employment reality facing those people diagnosed with especially debilitating -- and possibly deadly -- medical conditions. Specifically, we addressed how the majority of these people will eventually be unable to work despite their best efforts and that this loss of income can make already stressful times that much more difficult.

However, we also examined how these people may be able to turn to the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances initiative for much-needed assistance.

In today's post, we will continue to discuss the CAL initiative and how it helps those diagnosed with severe medical conditions.

Updating the qualifying CAL conditions

It is important to understand that the qualifying CAL conditions are not set in stone, and that the SSA plans to add new conditions to the list every year after careful consultation with both the National Institute of Health and other medical professionals.

The speed with which an application is processed under the CAL initiative

The SSA indicates that those individuals suffering from qualifying CAL conditions will likely see their application for disability benefits processed in a matter of only a few weeks as opposed to months or years. However, it cautions that this timeframe could be lengthened in the event the necessary medical evidence requested from a doctor or other provider is slow to arrive, further medical examination proves necessary, or the claim is subjected to a random quality assurance review.  

It should also be noted that the SSA does not take steps to notify people that their claim has been fast-tracked under the CAL initiative.

Application requirements under the CAL initiative

Those people with qualifying CAL conditions apply using the standard process for filing claims with the SSA and do not need to fill out any special paperwork. In fact, CAL applicants saw their paperwork requirements reduced several years ago after the agency excused them from answering the work and education history questions, arguing they were unnecessary given the severity of the underlying medical conditions.

Benefits available under the CAL initiative

Finally, it must be noted that qualifying CAL applicants are only entitled to expedited processing, not additional disability benefits.

If you have questions concerning your ability to secure disability benefits or the denial of your benefits application, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Compassionate allowances," Accessed Sept. 24, 2014