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Number of compassionate allowances at 165 and growing

More New Jersey residents with severe disabilities may now qualify for an application procedure that approves or denies Social Security benefits in a matter of days, instead of waiting for months -- when it might be too late.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that 52 additional conditions are being added to an expedited application process called Compassionate Allowances (CAL). Under the process, the SSA maintains a listing of severe medical conditions, now totaling 165, that enables SSA administrators to fast-track the approvals of the most obviously disabled individuals.

SSA Commissioner Michael J. Astrue reports that the CAL program has allowed the agency to quickly approve disability benefits for nearly 61,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year, and nearly 173,000 applications since the program began.

The Commissioner has also confirmed his agency's commitment to working with the National Institutes of Health and various patient organizations to continue to identify new conditions that warrant quick approvals. There are 6,000 to 7,000 known rare diseases or cancers, so the number of qualifying CAL conditions is expected to grow.

Whether you need help with your Social Security application or need assistance understanding the type of benefits for which you might qualify, an attorney can review your profile and answer any questions you might have.

Remember, even if you do not have one of the several medical conditions listed under the CAL program, there may be other conditions that make you eligible to receive federal benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs administered by the SSA. An attorney can explain the different eligibility requirements to you and help you with your application.

Source: Richmond County Daily Journal, "Social Security Column: New compassionate allowances," Brenda Brown, June 5, 2012

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