Social Security Disability Benefits and Compassionate Allowances

Social Security has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards.

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

In its effort to improve and expedite the disability determination process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it will add early-onset Alzheimer's disease to its Compassionate Allowances Initiative. The initiative identifies debilitating diseases and medical conditions that meet the SSA's disability standards for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Inclusion in the initiative allows for faster payment of Social Security benefits to individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

There are currently an estimated 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease. Although the majority of Alzheimer cases are individuals age 65 and older, a significant number of people under age 65 are also affected by this fatal disease and have few financial options other than the Social Security disability program.

In addition to Alzheimer's disease, mixed-dementia and Primary Progressive Aphasia (a type of frontotemporal dementia) were also added to the Compassionate Allowances Initiative under the SSA's recent decision.

Here is a list of the initial compassionate allowances: http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

Here are 38 additional compassionate allowances recently added: http://www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances/conditions.htm

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