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SSA adds to compassionate allowances list for disability claims

Government benefits will be easier to obtain later this summer for certain disabling medical conditions. Starting in August, Social Security will add more than 50 compassionate allowances to its fast-track processing system.

Adding new medical conditions to the list of compassionate allowances means more people in Wisconsin can qualify faster for Social Security Disability benefits. The list is made up of severe disorders and diseases that receive priority processing and that are resolved more quickly than other potentially-disabling conditions, from the first application to the final benefits decision.

The 52 new compassionate allowances include several neurological conditions, less-common diseases and certain cancers. The full list will contain 165 obviously-disabling conditions, a list that the commissioner of the Social Security Administration promises will continue to grow.

Almost 61,000 severely disabled individuals received priority treatment and were awarded disability benefits in 2011 through the Compassionate Allowances program. An estimated 173,000 Social Security disability applications have been handled through the speedier process.

The Social Security Administration periodically increases the number of compassionate allowances after considering advice from the National Institutes of Health, scientists and medical experts. The government benefits provider also gathers input from the public at scheduled community hearings.

The need for fast-tracking some medical conditions indicates that the regular application and decision process for Social Security disability takes time. Disabled individuals may find it difficult to maintain the energy and stamina needed to deal with a lengthy and complex benefits application process.

A long-term disability attorney can help develop a personal action plan for clients who need assistance understanding and gathering medical information, talking with insurance companies, preparing a disability application or appealing a claim denial.

Source: Marshfield News Herald, "New Social Security allowances mean faster decisions for disabled," Ken Hess, June 23, 2012

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