published Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Social Security: Disability allowances added for benefits

By Gregory Holmes
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    Gregory Holmes, district manager for Social Security

Social Security is adding 35 more compassionate allowances, bringing the total number of such conditions in the expedited disability process to 200.

Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. The 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. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.

"We have achieved another milestone for the Compassionate Allowances program, reaching 200 conditions," Social Service Commissioner Michael Astrue said in a statement. "Nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities nationwide have been quickly approved, usually in less than two weeks, through the program since it began in October 2008."

By definition, these conditions are so severe that Social Security does not need to fully develop the applicant's work history to make a decision. As a result, Social Security eliminated this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.

For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

Submit questions to local Social Security Director Gregory Holmes by writing Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by e-mailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

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