|Wednesday, April 11, 2012||Press Office|
|For Immediate Release||410-965-8904|
Social Security Announces New Conditions for Compassionate Allowances Program
Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 52 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, primarily involving neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases. The Compassionate Allowances program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. Commissioner Astrue made the announcement during his remarks at the World Orphan Drug Congress near Washington, D.C.
“Social Security will continue to work with the medical community and patient organizations to add more conditions,” Commissioner Astrue said. “With our Compassionate Allowances program, we quickly approved disability benefits for nearly 61,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year, and nearly 173,000 applications since the program began.”
The Compassionate Allowances initiative identifies claims where the nature of the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets the statutory standard for disability. With the help of sophisticated new information technology, the agency can quickly identify potential Compassionate Allowances and then quickly make decisions.
Social Security launched the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008 with a list of 50 diseases and conditions. The announcement of 52 new conditions, effective in August, will increase the total number of Compassionate Allowances conditions to 165. The conditions include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, a number of rare genetic disorders of children, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, immune system conditions, and other disorders. In his speech that opened the Congress, Commissioner Astrue thanked the National Institutes of Health for research they conducted which helped identify many of the conditions added to the list.
The agency also is improving its online disability application process, which is already substantially shorter than the standard paper application. Starting April 21, 2012, adults who file for benefits online will have the option to electronically sign and submit their Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (Form SSA-827). This improvement allows applicants to complete disability applications in a streamlined online session, rather than printing, signing, and mailing paper authorization forms to Social Security offices.
In March, Social Security approved eight research projects through its Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program. This new program aims to improve the disability process through innovative research by graduate students focusing on topics such as the Compassionate Allowances program, Wounded Warriors initiative, homelessness and SSI, and disability enrollment issues.
For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.
New Compassionate Allowances Conditions