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Tennesseans who have certain types of severe health conditions may receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims through the compassionate allowances program, and the SSA recently added five conditions to the list. The compassionate allowances program was created in 2008 to provide faster disability claims processing for people with certain diseases, and the list of diseases totals 233 conditions. Most of the conditions are brain disorders and different types of cancer. People with one of the listed conditions may have their claims for SSDI processed in a matter of weeks instead of the lengthy process that other applicants face.

What Is the Compassionate Allowances Program?

The compassionate allowances program was established by the Social Security Administration in 2008 to address the problem of seriously and terminally ill people dying before their disability claims were processed. The approval process for an SSDI claim can last for months or years, leaving many severely ill people without the means to live for a long period of time. The program fast-tracks applications for people with diseases that have been identified as being likely to be ultimately approved for disability benefits.

Since the inception of the compassionate allowance program, the SSA reports that more than 500,000 people that have these identified conditions have been approved for benefits through the fast track process. According to the Social Security Act, a person is considered to be disabled for the purposes of approval for SSDI benefits if his or her condition is severe, prevents him or her from working, is expected to last at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death.

New Conditions Added

On Aug. 20, 2018, the Social Security Administration announced that it was adding five new conditions to the list of diseases and disorders that qualify applicants for expedited processing under the compassionate allowances program. These new conditions include the following:

  • Tetrasomy 18p
  • Superficial Siderosis of the Central Nervous System
  • Megalencephaly-Capillary Malformation Syndrome
  • Megacystis Microcolon Intestinal Hypoperistalsis Syndrome
  • Fibrolamellar Cancer

People who are diagnosed with these conditions may be approved for SSDI benefits in as little as a few weeks after they apply. Other disabled people who have been diagnosed with serious diseases such as cancer or brain disorders might check the compassionate allowances list of conditions or ask Social Security lawyers to see if they might qualify for expedited processing of their applications.