Compassionate Allowances allow Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that can be obtained quickly.

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. Compassionate Allowances is not a separate program from the Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income programs, rather a means of helping place people into the other existing programs within Social Security.

How is Compassionate Allowance identified?

CAL conditions are selected using information received at public outreach hearings, comments received from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, the council of medical and scientific experts, and research with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Also, Social Security will consider which conditions are most likely to meet their current definition of disability.

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What is the SS definition of disability?

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. “Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. Social Security considers you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • Social Security decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

The Compassionate Allowances List contains conditions such as rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, schizophrenia, cardiovascular disease and multiple organ transplants and autoimmune diseases. Social Security has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards.

The Social Security Administration has many other programs to expedite disability applications. These include the Quick Disability Determination program, the Terminal Illness program and the Presumptive Disability for SSI program. At times, these programs could overlap with the Compassionate Allowances program. Bear in mind that an applicant does not apply directly for a Compassionate Allowance. Once an application has been made for disability benefits, the SSA’s computer programs are designed to identify conditions present on the Compassionate Allowances List, or conditions that may qualify for other programs, in order to expedite the process.

If you need help understanding the intricate legal workings of Social Security,contact an experienced Batson Nolan attorney. For decades, our attorneys have represented Social Security disability claimants. Whether it is a new claim, a reconsideration, or an appeal, we have successfully concluded many cases with an award of benefits to the claimant.