Compassionate Allowances Speed Help to People with Severe Disabilities

photograph of a man in a wheelchairDisability can happen to anyone. If you suffer from a serious medical condition that prevents you from working, time is of the essence when it comes to applying for Social Security disability benefits. Although Social Security is committed to processing disability claims as quickly as possible in all cases, our initial claims process typically takes three to five months.

Because compassion is a cornerstone of our public service commitment, in some cases, we’re able to expedite the application process through our Compassionate Allowances program. Social Security uses Compassionate Allowances to identify people whose medical condition is so severe, they obviously meet our disability standards. Under the Social Security Act, we consider you disabled if you can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.

Social Security pays benefits under two programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Our disability program provides benefits and Medicare eligibility to workers with disabilities who paid into the Social Security trust fund through payroll taxes. Under some circumstances, children and family members can receive disability benefits. SSI pays benefits to disabled persons of all ages with limited income and resources. SSI benefits are not paid out of the Social Security trust fund.

Farber’s disease and Tay Sachs disease in children, and advanced pancreatic and ovarian cancer in adults are examples of the 223 conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list. Others include Huntington’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, which cause rapid brain deterioration in otherwise healthy adults. For a complete list of the Compassionate Allowances conditions, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.

The Compassionate Allowances initiative also provides grants to medical researchers to identify other conditions that may qualify for this list. This initiative is just one of many ways Social Security works to help provide you with peace of mind when disability happens. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov. photograph of a man in a wheelchair

97 thoughts on “Compassionate Allowances Speed Help to People with Severe Disabilities

  1. I got hurt ankle from encounter with crimminals need help with bed student senior handicap patients hat might help share it until well or schooled send email to

    • THE BACKLOG IS WAY TOO LONG. I’VE BEEN WAITING THREE YEARS FOR A HEARING. NOW IM HEARING AFTER WAITING, SOME ARE DENIED BY BIAS LOW APPROVING JUDGES. YOU WANT US ALL TO DIE!

    • Compassionate Allowance is nothing more than a bait and switch program. Jim Borland has no idea what actual FO offices are doing. Do not believe anything you read written by SSA about this program. It’s a scam. Though it sounds wonderful on paper, you will never get approved, even when your disease is listed and you submit biopsy results, many ct reports, and pet scans. The goal is to have people die so they don’t have to pay out disability. False advertising Mr. Borland.

  2. What can I do if I have a cancer that is not curable be decide to take another option that would allow me to continue working until I can’t no longer. Would this be a good case for disability?

    • Figure it out. The definition of disability is the inability to perform any work for which you are suitably trained or educated or a condition that will result in death within 12 months. You should be aware that there is a 5 month waiting period from the time the disability begins until you can receive the first payment. SSI has no waiting period but has a means test.

    • If you work and earn less than a thousand dollars or so a month you can still qualify for regular Social Security. If you are out of work for thirty days and then go back for less than three months but quit due to your condition they can find you disabled as of the date you first left work. This is all contingent on your condition being actually disabling per SSA criteria.

      • Unfortunately as long as you are working you are unable to file for disability. You have to be out of work or expected to be out of work for at least a year before you can file. Hope this helps.

        • That’s not true! You can file anytime! I quit work December 2014 and filed april 2015 and was approved at 100% in Feb 2016. My back pay starts from June 1st 2015 because January thru May(5 months) is the qualification period and you don’t get paid for those months…so actually I could have filed anytime during those first 5 months I was off work…you can even file for disability while your working but the rules say you have to be off work 5 months to qualify! You can file online…

        • Thank you for your comment, Amanda. The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled. A person may still be eligible for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program if they work. However, their earnings cannot exceed a certain amount. This is called the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit. In 2016, the SGA limit is $1,130 per month (or $1,820 for blind applicants). In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability.

    • Thank you for your question, Inez. If you are working in 2016 and your earnings average more than $1,130 a month(or $1,820 for blind applicants), generally, you cannot be considered disabled. In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. You may find our listing of impairments useful. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you think you are disabled under our rules, you can apply for disability benefits online. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local office for further assistance.

  3. When low- wage workers become disabled, what happens to them? They can apply for disability. The last I heard, the process — from date of application to receipt of first check (noting that most applications are denied, and one must go through the appeals process) — takes a minimum of a full year. In the past, people were able to turn to welfare to be able to survive during this period. Actual welfare ended back in the 1990s. What happens to people faced with similar circumstances today?

    • Anyone can apply for disability, the wage level determines the payment amount or if you’re insured except for SSI. An agency of each State makes the medical decision, so the time will vary. About 25% of all initial claims are approved. About 1/3 are denied for technical reasons such as not being insured (insufficient work activity). And you are correct, many claims take over a year to process through the hearings level. Welfare programs are administered by the State were cut back in the 90’s but have not been eliminated. They’ve have in fact greatly expanded to pre 90’s levels under the current administration.

      • You are going to be denied period. 99% or more will have to hire a lawyer, who gets paid from you and also by the SS. Your great grandparents paid into this system your grandparents,your parents and you do ! No choice. The excuses they spew are lies. The money paid into this system has been stolen and never replaced. It by rights should never be bankrupt.If you hear this is not a ‘intentitlement’ that is another lie. This system is meant to be insurance for breaking your back building this greatest country. You will be denied depending on the state you live in and the knowledge of a judge and others who never worked a honest day of hard physical labor. You will spend more time writing/ filling paperwork than you will looking for a job you can do being disabled, that do not exist. So just bend over and take it. It does not matter one bit if your physician states you’re not able to do the work you’ve done most of your working life, if you can answer a phone, type, or use a computer, you are not disabled. But if you can’t read or speak English you have a chance. You are more likely to win the lottery than win a case with the SS.

    • I quit work dec 2014….I applied in April 2015…was denied in end of September… I appealed Oct… And was approved a week ago Feb 5.

      • I guess it depends on medical conditions, because I applied almost the same time as you but I am still waiting for a Judge hearing. That can take years,

      • I have not worked since 2009,started with knee surgery, ankle pain, depression. Now arachnoid cyst on brain, pudendal neuralgia, arachnoiditis, chondromalacia of left knee, seizure disorder, cartilage disorder, scoliosis, lumbar spondylosis, lumbosacral radiculitis, headaches, dizziness, vision problems, 8 psychiatrists, 4 rheumatologist, 3 neurologist, 3 pcp’s, and 4 orthopedic later ,7 denials and going. Wasted 5 yrs with one lawyer this is second one and been denied again?

      • Did u hire a lawyer ? Whay state are u in? And thank u for the positive feedback also my i ask what is ur conditon. im trying to help me husband. This is so hard and shouldbnt be

    • Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people aged 65 and older who have limited income and resources. SSDI benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. Disabled individuals may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information.

    • They become broke, homeless, and either live in the streets, begging or if lucky, have family who will take care of them until disability is finally granted. It took mine 6 years to get through the appeal process. (95% of applications are automatically denied and must go through the appeal process.) Don’t even try to apply without a lawyer, it will be denied automatically. I lost everything, including my home and lived in my vehicle with help from family and friends and by the grace of God, I survived.

      • 35% of people are allowed at the initial level and then another 12 per cent at he reconsideration level. No one is “automatically denied”. If you are denied at the recon level then it may be wise to get a lawyer. Otherwise you are wasting your money and in many cases delaying your case .

        • Thanks to Reagan, in the 1980, SS was sued because they established a policy to deny 100% of the applicants. Those that did not appeal became our homeless. Thanks to that lawsuit they can’t deny 100, but they try to stay in the 90’s.

      • You are not alone. It is a bass backward broken system by the ones who were in place to protect our interests. ‘For the greater good’ and ‘our way of life’ 2 phrases to be
        Aware of !

      • Come on guys, this is not helping anyone here. I have been looking at these blogs for my entire process, and basically they’ve turned into bitch-fests. How about we don’t claim for 45 different ailments? That may speed things up a bit…

    • Well for someone like me who is going on my third back surgery with still no guarantees of success. And Doctors that refuse to help a patient get disability we end up homeless and in even worse shape than need because of the conditions of my last place I had to abandon all belongings so here I am doing more damage to my back sleeping on the floor because I can’t afford a place of my own let alone a bed.

  4. I have been waiting for SSDI to approve my social security benefits since Dec. 4,2013. I have not received any benefits since then. I had two spinal surgeries due to stenosis of my spine. Every day I live in chronic pain and no one seems to understand even my orthopedic surgeon. I have 14 screws in my back and two more stenoic herniated disks needs to be fixed thru surgery but I have to undergo pain management prior to receiving my third spinal stenosis. My credit score of 805 is down to 575 because I am behind on my bills . My credit score of 805 is now down to 575 because I am behind on my bills. I am not receiving any assistance from the government after 30 years of contributing to Social Security . Please tell me where is the compassion here . I use ice packs in my back so it numbs the pain that I suffer from , but I still get a denial because I do not meet the requirements from the letter I received
    last week . I need monetary help. Compassion please look at my medical records again . Respectfully,
    Eduardo J Serrano

    • It sounds like you were technically denied for lack of insured status. Compassion has nothing to do with the work requirement of working 5 of the last 10 years before the onset of your disability.

      • where do you get “that sounds like a technical denial”??? He said he worked for 30 years, and he said he was hoping SSA would look at his medical records again. Sounds more like he needs to file an appeal and get a second look.

    • You are not alone. It is a bass backward broken system by the ones who were in place to protect our interests. ‘For the greater good’ and ‘our way of life’ 2 phrases to be
      Aware of !

  5. I really hope that you review all medical records again. I have no income and I am forced to live with my parents . I am just a hindrance to my family. I do not have any credit card to use not even one I do not have any credit card to use not even one dollar in my wallet . I am unable to put gasoline in my car. Very seldom my parents will lend me a few dollars for gas and let’s me have a place to sleep and eat. I am an American living in poverty, while our government shuts their eyes on cases like mine. I plead once more please review my case carefully. I am 53 years old with chronic pain.

    • I was in same boat and down to $6. Forget credit ,- ppl don’t understand how much THEY depend on credit but when you lose it you realize it was your buffer. Took over 4 years to get $1 from SS. Had private disability coverage that took 18 months to start but they kept turning it off and making me reprove u my case. They helped Geico cancel earned disability benefits bc the private insurer of Ltd had declared the week before Christmas – sent in letter – I no longer qualified and to show up to work the MON after Xmas. Knowing doctors were on vacation. If I returned, that minute would restart everything I’d been waiting for. I got approval from Geico leave admin for additional two weeks to get my Dr involved but I received seperation letter bf that date. They cancelled my health ins on Jan 1st also before the date I had to appeal with form from Dr.

      I had asked for approval of extension of deadline, was told I didn’t need it that our email served that purpose. I said I’d still feel better with it in writing but they responded by copying previous email saying their email was proof enough.

      No lawyer would take case bc Geico does not settle, they know that, told me that, and said they had teams of lawyers chomping at bit for experience.

      I was abandoned by everyone during this process. Even at food stamp office when I only filed AFTER I WAS DOWN TO SIX DOLLARS. Took the over 6 weeks to get functional card in my hand. Does everyone have to get motorized statements from anyone who loaned them cash in form of check and then say they were refusing to help me eat any longer? I was humiliated.

      • Pd I have broken my foot now, walk w walker on side of foot, in great pain, my foot is fusing back wrong and I can’t stand barefoot. All bc my ins was taken away unfairly. Medicare said they r reviewing older claim to see if they will pay but ortho Dr won’t see me before I pay $800 even though I’ve paid over $300,000 for surgeries. Afraid I’m gonna sue bc their ppwk was so screwed up it made me look like a liar at times. Dr wrote note explaining it was computer issue making assumptions if Dr didn’t specifically Mark something. (Like they’ve had me pregnant for years).physically I can’t have sex but they don’t know or care. It’s getting urgent I see doctor bc seriously I think it’s fusing in broken position and I don’t have copay money. (My shrink today was $68 with $375 in scripts). All of this stress is getting to me – I’d appreciate a answer.

  6. i have chronic kidney disease and my renal function is in 25% but i dont have the credits complete,what happen in that case?

    • Then you are not eligible. If your income meets the required level, apply for SSI. SSDI is ONLY for people who worked and paid in for a certain amount of time.

    • We also pay disability benefits under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. SSI is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled individuals based on financial need. Generally, when you apply for disability benefits, we take applications for both programs. Remember that disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. To see if you are eligible and to schedule an appointment to apply for SSI at your local office, call us at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state that you live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

    • If you are on dialysis or need a kidney transplant there may be help for you under the ESRD program. Your best bet is to contact SSA and schedule an appointment to discuss it with them. The 800-772-1213 can do that for you.

  7. At the time I applied for SSI,I had severe back,hip and knee problems and could no longer work.I became homeless because I could not pay my rent.I lived in my car for 8 months,then with a stranger for about a year.I was then diagnosed with AML Leukemia.5 months before my court date,my lawyer convinced me to waive my back pay and she would talk a judge into reading my case and approving me early because of the cancer.Worse mistake I ever made.I lost nearly $30,000.!!3 months later I got my 1st monthly check and a HUD low income apt. For that I am thankful.But I regret giving up the backpay that could have fulfilled my dream of maybe buying an old farmhouse and having some chickens and a garden.If there was any way to reverse the waiver I would do it in a heart beat.I`m 61 yrs. old and would like to be happy the years I have left…

  8. PTSD should be on this list, the military can find you unfit for duty then military retire you and because of your condition you can not work and to top it off you have to fight with the VA for every bit of percentage. I am 52 with a disability rating of 80% (70% PTSD) have chronic back pain, worked as a fire fighter also in a freezer warehouse, contributed over 35 years into social security and can not work due to my conditions but have been denied 2 times by social security because someone feels I do not meet the criteria. I am living on my VA disability and can just about pay my bills. I am not waiting on my hearing date.

    • Why not look at the criteria and you will understand the reason you do not meet them? The Social Security website lists in great detail EXACTLY what the criteria are for every condition.

    • You are receiving disability through SSI. If you are eligible for SSDI you can apply, but so far, every comment above is complaining about not receiving SSDI and it’s because they are not eligible even to apply. These are two separate programs for two completely different groups of people, and that was explained in the very initial paragraph of the article. Why does no one understand this concept? This website is so comprehensive and contains every last detail you could possibly need to find out about both programs. SSI isn’t even Social Security, it’s simply administered by them for the sake of efficiency, and it works. Not everyone is eligible for SSDI because it’s disability INSURANCE that you pay into during your working years. If you did not contribute, if you did not work, if you did not work enough to have contributed enough, if you are able to do ANY kind of work, then you are NOT eligible. It is only for those who did work but a SERIOUS disability forced them to stop and they’ll most likely NEVER be able to work again. Why is that so hard to understand? The article explains that clearly. SSI on the other hand is available to EVERYONE who has a serious disability. It has nothing to do with your work, and does NOT come out of the Social Security fund that the workers paid into. However, in order to qualify for SSI you must be disabled AND very low income. Hopefully this will stop some of the unfounded and unfair complaints and criticism about a valuable system that is both very necessary and very well run. Don’t blame Social Security because you aren’t eligible to apply. That’s like a garbage collector blaming a hospital because they won’t hire him as a transplant surgeon. Duh.

      • Marc I really don’t think you need to come at them like that let explain something to you being in pain and sick sometimes makes it hard for you to understand things you being rude is very unnecessary is your job to explain to them if they don’t understand so to sit there and say to them what part you don’t understand you don’t understand why it’s so hard for them not to understand I think he was out of line if it’s a problem with you doing your job then maybe someone else should get on here and answer the questions. I feel you old everyone an apology that was not right how you spoke to them when you are hurting you are hurting maybe they don’t understand maybe he takes them a little while longer to understand or get an understanding of what you are say everyone might not be like me and you maybe you need to have a little more patients again I think you owe them apology and your attitude I didn’t like it at all and I’m quite sure they didn’t either and if there is any kind away I can get to your supervisor I’m quite sure Day would like you either. Marc you have a nice day and I hope the rest of your answers be very pleasant from here on out.

        • Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms. Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. Please be aware that our official agency responses will always include the Social Security Administration (SSA) seal, and that we have an official social media team dedicated to posting messages and responses to customer inquiries or comments that specifically address SSA issues. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thank you for your support and for using our blog.

        • I agree, I have a MBA from prestigious university and my disability makes
          My memory doesnt work like it used to. I’ve had so many new things I was expected to understand, on powerfully pain killers. Dealing with several diff doctors, my private disability coverage company, my employer who is trying.g to screw me out of benefits, I hurt too much to walk downstairs more than once a day, ETC. NOT ALL OF US ARE SCAMMING PRETENDING WE ARE ON A PERMANANT VACATION.

          We may be experiencing financial issues unfamiliar to us. Fighting losing my home several times. Fiance cancelled wedding date and got scarce but kept checking no to ensure I wasn’t getting lump sum check bc he would want his part. I can’t enjoy my granddaughter. My mom has bone cancer, yet physically I can’t drive that far but even so y car is unreliable bc repairs have had to be postponed.

          So. Please. Give us a break on the attitude. I’m having memory problems too and not sure how bad it is.

      • Thank you Marc for giving everyone a reality check. Despite the way Marc presented the information, it was all factual. People DO need to understand the eligibility requirements. With the help of these boards, I was able to complete everything, without a lawyer, in 5 weeks. It can be done, but you need to make it as easy on DDS as possible. I had 14 unsuccessful work attempts in the last 4 years. I took any job I could find, utilizing my college degree or my commercial drivers license, but my mental health had deteriorated due to combat PTSD. My evidence included several emergency room visits over a 4 year period and medical records that were clear and concise. I stripped the records of all the fluff; leaving only the most pertinent information. I hand delivered my documents when requested within 24 hours to my local SS office. My jobs were varied, from Truck Driver to Retail Management to Pizza Delivery Driver to Waiter, I did it all. This helped my case substantially and because I had all my ducks in a row, I believe I was able to be expedited. So far, mine is the fastest approval I have been able to find.

    • Thank you for your question, Felix. Generally, when you apply for disability benefits, we take applications for both programs. The Supplemental Security Income or SSI is a needs-based program that pays benefits to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Income program, you must be “currently insured” or have worked long enough–and recently enough—under Social Security. to qualify for disability benefits. Credits are the “building blocks” we use to find out whether you have the minimum amount of covered work to qualify for each type of Social Security benefits.

  9. I have stage 4 lung cancer that has spread to my brain. My prognosis was a median of 2 1/2 years.
    My application process was streamlined by a compassionate SSI worker, who did most of the work and was approved within 2 weeks.

      • I will be helping my mother apply soon for the compassionate allowance program. She has Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA) which is on the compassionate list. In the social security office are there specific compassionate SSI in each office? Thank you

        • Once the SSA office receives such a claim they flag it. Then when it goes to your state’s DDS it is given immediately to an experienced and efficient DDS examiner to take prompt action. They will write to, phone, and FAX requests to your doctors. When the records are received immediate action will be taken to make a decision and any state and federal reviews will also be expedited. This is the process in each office.

        • Thank you for your question, Jessica. All your mother has to do is apply for Disability Benefits. If her medical condition meets the criteria of our Compassionate Allowances program, we will then try to expedite the application process. Under the Social Security Act, we consider a person disabled if he or she can’t work due to a severe medical condition that is expected to last at least one year, or result in death. You can help her apply online, which is quick and easy. She can also apply by calling our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Or she can contact her local Social Security office directly.

  10. Bull,
    My brother has been in hospitals and nursing homes for over a year. Has lost both legs. He has been waiting for some judge to hear his case.

  11. I have applied for SSDI. I went before an Administrative Judge and was denied my claim because of the Substantial Work Claus. I am still working Part Time I have Diabetes, Hep-C Lesions on my body High Blood Pressure High Cholesterol, Chronic Back, Leg, and Abdominal Pain. I don’t have any Insurance and my pay is 17,200yr. I have claimed all the medications I pay for over the cost of the month which brought my monthly pay to 1120. Plus the Vocational Expert said that my work cannot be transferred and that I was receiving extraordinary assistance from my employers by assigning deacons to assist me in completing my weekly tasks. The Judge said that he believed a church has a lower standard when it comes to helping their employees. I appealed that decision to the Appeals Council. where do you believe I stand on these issues?

  12. I went to court good approved and then I was denied on account of my husband having retirement fund, and a home that we rent because we owe much more than what iuts worth.SS told us to get ppwk and an appraisal done we spend $250.00 for an appraisal .SS made their decision without telling me anything after I spent $250.00 on an appraisal.We live off of credit cards.I worked all these years and I can’t get any help, how do these immigrants come in and get all this help?They go by several last names and apply and get it under one of there other names.Its a real shame.Ihave MS,heart disease,JC virus,high blood pressure,lumbar spinal fusion.How am I suppose to use my husband’s retirement money when in four years he retires how are we my three daughters ages 14,12,10 are suppose to survive?We have liquidated all of my CDS and IRAS.I am so upset and stressed out over this and then mynDr.tells me stress is no good for me.What can you recommend to me

    • I think you may have 2 systems confused (it’s very easy to confuse them):
      SSI may be granted as supplementary income and is based on you & your husband’s financial assets. SSDI (the disability insurance that this article references) is based on your work history/salary and your disability status being approved through “the process”.

      When I initially applied, I knew I would not qualify for SSI, and didn’t plan on applying. However, the person who initially processed my claim explained that lawyers usually want you to apply for both, and also was quick to explain that I was going to be immediately denied on the SSI due to my assets. If not for her explanation and telling me not to panic when I got the determination, I might have been very upset like you.

      You said you went to court and were approved. If that is so, then I am betting the denial is to the SSI, and that the SSDI claim is what was approved. Even though they immediately denied my SSI in the beginning, they insisted on going back through the SSI application process and denied it again, before they processed the SSDI approval.

      Be aware if your income (not your husband’s) was high, and the appeal process has taken years, all of the double-checking and insisting on redoing all the financial stuff will take longer than most as well. If they’ve gotten through the SSI denial, then hang in there, they will now begin the process of figuring out how much back pay they owe you.

      If you can, try checking with your local SS office and asking about the status of your claim, and see if the denial was SSI or SSDI, or both. Remember your local office has little to do with the processing itself, so even though it’s a trying time for you, the more cordial you can be, the more likely they can get it straightened out and explain it to you.

      Just for comparison purposes, it was 4 years after my initial application before my appeal was heard in front of a video conference judge. He granted my SSDI within the week, but it took another 10 weeks before I got my back pay and started getting my disability payments.

      I am very glad there is a compassionate allowance provision, but it can be a very long and difficult process for those of us that are disabled, unable to work, and don’t fit one of those criteria.

      • So I should go back to Social Security and try to get SSDI? My lawyer from Myler Disability said that my work points expired march 2014 and I applied in Dec 2014,If you think I should try again I will do so.

        • Hi Charlotte. By “work points” you must be referring to credits. Credits are the “building blocks” we use to find out whether you have the minimum amount of covered work to qualify for each type of Social Security benefits. When it comes to qualifying for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you must be “currently insured” or have worked long enough–and recently enough—under Social Security. If you became disabled in December 2014, and your credits for insured status expired in March 2014, you were no longer eligible for disability benefits. See Insured Status Requirements for more information.
          If you have specific questions about your situation, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Thanks!

  13. my husband is retiring in april and i helped him apply for medicare. i just want to know can i also help him apply for soc security payments online? he has intellectual disabilities and im a professor so i handle these things

  14. Very interesting blog. I hope that all of you hopefully get some type of assistance with your concerns. The Social Security Administration has to rely on judges to hear these cases. It is well known by many that there are not enough judges to oversee the millions of disability cases. The Disability Lawyers know this all to well. So please be aware even if you seek legal counsel to help with your case, you will have an extended wait time for your case to be heard. In the event of a denial from the Social Security Administration you should seek legal counsel and appeal right away. Do not reapply because you will lose all of your back benefits. I understand that this is a very difficult time in all of your lives, but have the faith that things will get better. The best way to get through this process is to educate yourself on how this system works. Please read and ask as many questions as you may need to in order to gain an understanding. You are not alone, but always remember that someone else is worse off than you. Let’s try to find a way to see what we can do to push them to bring in more judges to hear our cases! In the meantime try not to worry and have a greater appreciation for patience.

    • If you re-apply and it is found you are and were disabled the pror files can be re-opened so back benefits will not be lost and the decision will be earlier.

  15. If you worked for minimum wages all your working days don’t expect $2,400 a month at the age of 62 because it’s not going to happen

  16. I will be 64 in April, I have worked since I was 16 yrs old. I was recently diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Scerosis. I am a nurse practitioner and the demands of my work are keeping me from getting into remission. Do I have a chance of getting disability?

    • Thank you for your question. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. If you are working in 2016 and your earnings average more than $1,130 a month, generally, you may not be considered disabled. In addition to the amount of money you make, Social Security may also look at the number of hours you’re able to work. If you think you are disabled under our rules, you can apply for disability benefits online. Please see our listing of impairments, and visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability. At age 64, you could consider applying for Retirement Benefits and also apply for disability benefits before you reach your full retirement age. You can start receiving your retirement benefits while we consider your application for disability benefits and wait for a medical decision. Please call us at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday or contact your local office for further assistance.

  17. I have read the comments on this blog today and I can sure relate with alot of you. Yet there are numerous of you who do not understand the SSI and SSDI programs, their purposes or for whom they are intended. I honestly believe that there are few who work at Social Security who understand the SSI and SSDI programs in great depth. I can understand this since these programs are so large, especially SSDI, and it is not liikely many employees would be able to answer in depth issues without having to do research on the matters.
    Yet, I applied for SSDI and was denied in 2 months. I appealed and then was sent for medical and psychological evaluations. I have to say that these evaluations were way beyond being a joke and totally unprofessionally done by a physician and psychologist provided by Social Security that I would not allow to see or treat my dog, which I love very much.
    I hired an attorney and was told by him that my experience was not a surprise to him, it was normal since most who perform the evaluations for Social Security are those who cannot make it on their own and are labeled by the medical community as undesirables.
    To make a long story short, my case was denied 2 more times and then I finally went in front of law judge. The occupation specialist stated my disabilities were so bad there were no careers to place or educate me in. The law judge stated to me that she was sorry that this case had taken over 4 1/2 years and my family was deprived of so much during that time. She then told me that there was absolutely no reason this case should have ever have been denied from day 1 !!
    I know some will say that some cases just fall thru the cracks. To that I say, some day I hope you have to experience what my family and I had to go through during those 4 1/2 years of losing my wife, home, autos and most of all my dignity as a man who had never failed his family before. Oh yeah, I never received 1 dime of assistance from any government agency.

    • I got denied disability then hired a lawyer filed a appeal it took 6 months to see a judge I have mental disease haven’t worked since 2004 I couldn’t afford to get mental help then in 2008 I got medicad then in 2009 I got a mental health doctor im on 6 different medication I filed for disability in 2011 got denied then I filed for it again 2014 got lawyer seen a judge and he denied then had file with appealing court and it takes 12 to 18 months to hear back and I got diagnose with copd in 2015

  18. I would like to know when future outreach meetings/ hearings for considerations of CAL diseases, disorders, and conditions is going to be scheduled. It has been quite a long time since any public meeting was held. There are diseases that are very rare, extremely painful, debilitating and disfiguring, and are orphan diseases that get completely overlooked because most Dr.’s and therefore obviously Judges and ODAR have never heard of and don’t understand the diseases, the parameters, and the effect on a patients life. Many are not studdied so there is very little accurate research available. I have read about who contributes input in this matter, however, with no recent meetings and none upcoming how can patients and advocates make progress with respect to getting a specific disease brought to your attention for CAL consideration??? Thank you for your response.

  19. I waited almost 4 years I have PtSD ,major depression and anx.y and anger rage issues…I have bulging disc’s.digestive disc problems a fracture of L3 and more from neck to lower back I have sciatica .I have double crush syndrome in hands ,arthritis bad a year in shoulder diabetes atrial fibrillation gurd …I get a job I get sick after 1 month they have business to run they can’t afford me getting sick all the time I have to start a temp job and it’s killing me to do it but 3 years without work I’m homeless well not no.more cause my mom. Helps now I need back surgery and shoulder surgery I was denied Immediately then dec.1st 3 years 8 months later I can see judge she denied me because why I was nervous accidentally said I could walk a mile which I can’t even walk 10 feet ..also I have cops,ASTHMA which I have oxygen at home but I was denied what a slap in the face I really think I was decimated cause I was a fireman at ground 911 and my pain meds …it’s sad now I’m appealing and the lawyer I had said I’m.wasting my time .but if I don’t get approved this time they will see my true rage!!

  20. I have rotator cup problem on both sides R&L, I had this problem since 2009 and it got worst and worst after all this time. The cause of the rotator cup problem was my wife, the last year she was alive, had to have a compression sleve put on her right arm to prevent water building up in the arm. Putting the compression sleeve on and off every day finally took its toll and I was hurt working in the Stewart Airport Tower (FAA facility) when I fell down some steps and added to thek problem.

  21. Trish-I started working full time at 14 worked until 09/14. I had applied because I knew I was unable to work. My diagnosis crossed my 2nd denial. I have MSA , multiple system atrophy. I have life expectancy of 5-6 years and was told I am waiting for a video interview with a judge. That was 4/13/15. Still waiting. I have an attorney that says I just have to wait it out. I was told the compassion allowance was for MSA but normally would not work until you lost your home, filed bankruptcy (could not afford to do that) or were within a year of dying. I am now not able to fill prescriptions ($$) I have referrals for doctors that will not see me because I have obamacare. It costs me $200 a month I have 2000 dollar deductible and then they will only pay 30 per cent. My husband had to come out of retirement at 67 to be a cashier (only work he could get) I would love to know how much longer and what I can do to expedite and what happens when I turn 62 (oct) and am still waiting?

    • Thank you for sharing your comments, Trish. The length of time it takes to get a hearing can vary from state to state. We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the volume of pending appeals in your area. Please continue working with your attorney and local hearing office on specific questions about your case. You can apply for your Retirement Benefits at age 62, if you are still waiting for a medical determination on your disability claim. While you wait you may want to check and see if you are eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) web page for more information. We hope this information helps.

  22. That you for answering. I was just told today by my attorney that in texas it is taking 12-14 months to get an appointment before a judge. So, it will be at least April-June before we hear about a date. They also said compassionate allowance does not apply because I was already in the process before my diagnosis. I thank you so much for this blog, you have no idea how nice it is to have questions answered. If I apply for early SS at 62 (oct) will I lose back payments and will it delay getting medicare?

    • We are glad we can help, Trish. If you apply for early retirement at age 62, we can continue payments until we receive a medical determination on your disability claim. If you are approved for disability benefits, we will adjust your payments accordingly. Medicare starts 24 months after a person receives disability benefits. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first check.

  23. Ray Fernandez, Public Affairs Specialist,
    can you please comment about when future outreach hearings for CAL conditions are planned? Also, I am still fighting for 5 months of SSI due to each one of my children. I have been fighting and trying to obtain this since i was awarded initial back pay status. However, b/c the original amount was processed at the automatic processing center it only went back for 1 years duration and no one explained the proper procedures for filing additional paperwork in the many calls and visits i placed in this regard. I have been told so many different things by different reps that i no longer know what to believe. As far as policy goes….why is this so difficult? I fought for a long time and went through the legal processes required and lost everything we had! Do you know what it’s like to have to use the same dish water two consecutive days in a row, not be able to take your kids to the Dr.’s, have to pick and choose which meds you will do without? My point is that once you have been awarded SSD status you should not have to continue to fight for your award and sadly i am told that this is standard procedure.

    • We are sorry for the inconveniences Chris. Benefits issued through our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, are based on the needs of the individual and are only paid to the qualifying person. There are no children’s benefits payable. You must be referring to benefits paid through our Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which in certain circumstances, may also be payable to your children.
      For SSDI benefits, we generally allow up to 12 months of retroactivity payments. We also consider your application date, the established date of your disability and the five-month waiting period (benefits are not payable for the first full five month of disability). We attempt to resolve all claims promptly, but there may be delays due to the high volume of pending cases in our payment centers. Please continue working with your local office in this matter.
      For specific questions about your situation, call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thanks.

  24. My Lupus has gotten worse. I now have to use a walker to get around, shower chair to shower and a toilet seat to help with using the bathroom. I also, have sever Rheumatoid Arthritis. I can’t even raise my arms over my head because of pain, swollen legs and ankle when sitting up. I have worked for 35 years and was denied SSDI and SSI. Now I’m waiting for an appeal.

    Can I apply for the Compassionate Allowances for people with sever disability?

    • Hi Edna, medical conditions that meets the criteria for Compassionate Allowances are expedited. To add new medical evidence or a medical source to your pending claim, you can mail or take the information to your local Social Security office. In addition, you may be eligible to receive benefits from social services in your residing state, while you await a medical decision. These services could include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other matters. To get information about services in your area from your state or local social services or welfare office, please visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We hope this information helps.

  25. I went through 4 years of this, lost everything I had only to have my attorney close my case and not take it to federal court. In the process of this, my insured status expired. I cannot apply again unless I go to work and build my time up.

  26. “The title in the information in this email states When Tradigy Occurs,Your Family Can Conunt On Us.” The fact that there was no increas in SS leads me to believe our government does the opposite, they did not increase SS benefits. Why? it was stated that cost of living did not go up. I do not know what world SS lives in (Congress and the man in the White House Mr. Obama can not figure out what it costs to buy anthing in todays climate food the necessity of life plus other living expenses.
    I subtracted what you mean “When tradgy occurs you can count on us” . Well the tradgy did occur and we did not get an increase in SS. To me that is a disgrace. If you can give me a sensible reply, I welcome it. Meanwhile the brain of the government just announced that all college loans will not have to be repaid. I want you people to know, the government stole my (our money) over the years and they like college persons will not have to pay us Tax Payers back.

    THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

  27. I have Multiple System Atrophy and my speech is starting to slur and I can hardly walk. Under the Compassionate Allowances Program, I believe I would qualify for SSDI. I also have a 5 – 10 life expectancy. I am age 60. Would I also qualify for Medicare because of my condition?

    • Hi Randy. The Social Security Act sets out a strict definition for disability. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. However, if a person thinks that he or she meets our definition of disability, we encourage them to apply for disability benefits when they become disabled. You can apply online
      Individuals can be eligible for Medicare benefits after they receive disability benefits for 24 consecutive months.
      For more information visit our “Frequently Asked Questions” web page on disability.

  28. I am a combat veteran, 100% unemployable per veteran affairs. Haven’t worked consistently since 2011 when I got out. I battle suicide almost daily and am in and out of the er and va hospital for all sorts of different treatment. Imagine this, I got denied. I am on the verge of being homeless. What a great system we have 🙁

  29. My first Social Security examiner was compassionate and understanding. I was aware that Congress thought that there were too many people who were disabled prior to the reexamination I would go through. I had a home on nine acres. I am now homeless. The entire process allows for attorneys to make more money by prolonging someone’s case. That in itself is unethical. There’s no one to advocate on your behalf if you happen to be of a certain age and don’t qualify for Medicaid because of the many years that you have worked. The second examiner had numerous records from which to choose from, but instead, they chose to use only four, one of which was forced on me by the insurance company that I had at the time. I had signed a release for seven and a half years worth of records to be released from my physician, but they were never sent. I had the same home address and phone number, but was never contacted by the examiner. The non profit agency that I took my correspondence to from one of my home equity loans fired the individual who lied to me at least once and sometimes twice a week, when he said he was talking to Fifth Third; this person was an acting payee for lower income disabled people in my county; the attorney from Fifth Third who called me, asked me why I never responded and informed me that the bank had charged me a rate of 15% each day. My home was due to be sold at public auction the next day when my appeal, which I was unaware of was won. As a result I went without heat or hot water for two years, was unable to qualify for assistance even with the loss of my income. I eventually had to move out. My home and nine acres were sold to my real estate agents son for $24,000.00. Does anyone think that the Social Security examiner was reprimanded or adversely affected in any way? Are they homeless for over two and a half years now and paying more for living in a motel than two home equity loans cost? Is their once excellent credit destroyed from loss of income and an unnecessary foreclosure? In close I do not want anyone to presume that the medical conditions that were mentioned above deserve the utmost compassion and priority. I lost not only my home, but almost the entire contents that I worked my entire life for, but what’s worse is the social exclusion; the inability to vote; to open a post office box; access to help, including health care. But to now be so damaged, that I have lost the ability of SPEECH.

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