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What is the Compassionate Allowances Program?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

The Compassionate Allowances program is a crucial component of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) efforts. It’s designed to expedite the process for individuals with specific severe medical conditions who are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program acknowledges the urgent needs of those with grave health issues and offers a streamlined path to receiving essential benefits to some applicants.

Navigating the SSDI and SSI systems is often a complex and time-consuming endeavor, especially for individuals grappling with serious health challenges. The CAL program aims to alleviate this burden, ensuring that those with critical conditions receive swift assistance.

Purpose and function of CAL

The main goal of CAL is to quickly identify diseases and medical conditions that unequivocally meet the Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. By doing so, the program significantly reduces the waiting period for approval, which is a critical factor for individuals needing support.

The standard application process for SSDI and SSI can extend beyond a year, which poses considerable hardships for individuals dealing with significant health concerns and loss of income. CAL streamlines this process by offering an expedited route to much-needed assistance.

Eligibility and conditions covered

Eligibility for CAL is determined based on the SSA’s stringent disability criteria. Conditions that qualify for CAL include those that inhibit substantial gainful activity, are expected to result in death or have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

The CAL list is regularly updated with input from medical professionals and the public. This list encompasses various severe conditions, such as certain cancers, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), specific rare diseases and certain childhood illnesses.

Application process

Applying for CAL benefits is integrated with the standard SSDI or SSI application procedures. Applicants must indicate if their condition is on the CAL list. Applicants should ensure they file the application with all applicable information so a decision can be made promptly.