What Is the Compassionate Allowances List and
How Does It Help Social Security Disability Applicants?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are programs run by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that are intended to provide financial assistance to people with disabilities who cannot work. Unfortunately, wait times for benefits are at an all-time high.

However, if your condition is severe or expected to be fatal, you may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances Program and receive an expedited review of your application. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is SSDI?

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program that’s meant to provide financial benefits to people with significant work history who’ve developed a disability that is likely to last at least 12 months or result in death.

What Is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a federal program intended to provide people who are low-income and disabled as well as people over 65 with monthly financial benefits to help meet their basic needs.

How Long Does It Take to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

In the past, applying for SSDI benefits or SSI benefits typically came with about a five month processing time. But as of 2023, wait times for Disability benefits decisions have reached a new high.

The average processing time for initial disability benefit applications jumped from 133 to 220 days.

Applicants receive no financial support or assistance from the SSA while their application is pending, and an estimated 3 out of 5 are denied when a decision is reached. Sadly, an estimated 10,000 applicants die while they wait.

It’s very important that you complete your paperwork accurately and by the SSA’s deadlines so that your application for benefits is not needlessly delayed.

When Will I Get My Benefits Check If I Qualify?

The soonest SSDI payments can begin is 5 months after the disability occurred. Retroactive payments can be made going back to 1 year before the date of application.

SSI payments can be made as of the month after the application date.

Did you know, you can be disqualified from receiving Social Security benefits?

What Is the Compassionate Allowances Program?

Compassionate allowances are a way for the SSA to quickly identify applicants with certain diseases and other medical conditions who qualify for expedited disability benefits review. People who qualify for a compassionate allowance typically have their application reviewed in about 10 days instead of up to 7 months or more.

You can qualify for a Compassionate Allowance for either SSDI benefits or SSI benefits.

What Is the Compassionate Allowances List?

The compassionate allowances list contains all diseases and severe medical conditions that can qualify applicants for the compassionate allowances program. The list is on the SSA’s website.

As of 2023, there are 257 conditions on the list. If you know you have a terminal illness or one of the rare diseases that qualify, you can indicate that on your application.

Examples of qualifying medical conditions on the compassionate allowances list include:

  • Adult brain disorders
  • Early onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Certain cancers, including breast cancer
  • Renpenning syndrome
  • Pfeiffer syndrome – Types II and III

Here's the Compassionate Allowances rundown for a faster application process

Note: The SSA regularly updates the Compassionate Allowances List based on information from medical and scientific experts.

Can a Disability Attorney Help Me Qualify for a Compassionate Allowance?

There are several ways that an experienced disability attorney can help you seek a compassionate allowance for your SSDI or SSI application, including:

Guiding you through complex Social Security and Disability laws

  • Your attorney helps provide clarity as you navigate a complicated legal process that determines whether or not and how fast you can receive needed Disability benefits.

Ensuring you submit accurate compassionate allowances application paperwork

  • Your attorney ensures that your application is filled out correctly and contains all required information, including an indication that you have a qualifying disease.

Collecting medical records and other supporting evidence

  • While you focus on your health, your attorney can collect and organize records from your treating medical professionals. These records are crucial evidence in your application.

Our Social Security Team Can Help You

Our Social Security team is led by Rick Fleming, a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability law who formerly sat on the NC State Bar’s Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee.

Rick is also the Vice President and President-elect for the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).

Rick Fleming is a Social Security Disability appeals attorney at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

He leads a team with extensive “other side” knowledge from working inside the Social Security Administration, including several paralegals with direct experience in Disability Determination Services (which helps makes disability decisions for the SSA).

Do you need help with your Disability claim? Whatever stage you’re at in the process, we are here for you.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no attorney’s fee unless we help you recover benefits with a successful Disability claim.

“I felt like, hey I matter! They let me know what was going on, and the correspondence also, that was helpful. They’re going to take care of you, man. They’re going to do a really good job.”

Tony S., a client we helped1

If you need help with seeking or appealing for benefits, including approval for the Compassionate Allowances Program, contact us online or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation today.

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About the Author

Rick Fleming practices Social Security Disability law at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin. In addition to heading up the firm’s Social Security Disability Department, he is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law and fluent in English and Spanish. Rick has received multiple Order of Service awards from the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and he is an active board member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). He currently holds the board-elected position of NOSSCR Treasurer, after completing a year serving as the organization’s Secretary.