When it comes to securing disability benefits for a long-term illness or ailment, our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance lawyers know that the wait can be excruciating.
As with many government agencies, the Social Security Administration at times moves seemingly slower than molasses – despite the financial urgency experienced by those working to obtain benefits.
One avenue of relief that may be available to those with certain conditions is a Compassionate Allowance. The administration recently expanded its list, which now includes 200 qualifying medical conditions.
Since October of 2008, some 200,000 people have been approved for SSDI through a Compassionate Allowance. These are individuals with serious diseases who may get approved for a condition in days, rather than the months or years it often takes. Primarily, qualifying conditions include certain types of cancers, brain disorders and a few rare conditions that affect children.
Hiring an SSDI lawyer even for these cases can be beneficial in terms of ensuring you have all the proper paperwork regarding medical exams, treatments and medications to ensure a swift approval.
Among the new conditions approved for Compassionate Allowance as of Dec. 1 of last year are:
These are just a few of the 35 new conditions, and a small fraction of the 200.
The administration reached the conclusion to include these diseases through a process that includes public outreach hearings, counsel of scientific and medical experts, comments to local SSDI offices and research conducted by the National Institutes of Health.
All of these conditions have been found to most likely – just by diagnosis – meet the agency’s definition of disability. Generally, meeting this requirement can come down to subjective interpretation, which is why having a lawyer to advocate your case can be so important.
In determining your case, a reviewer with the administration is going to look at the following:
- Are you able to work?
- Is your condition considered severe?
- Is your ailment among the list of potentially disabling conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did before?
- Are you able to do any other type of work?
What the agency is looking to determine is whether your condition has already or is expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death) and that it prevents you from working.
Again, this can be subjective, and the administration tends to take a hard line when it comes to whether a person is able to work. For example, a person who is rather educated and worked in a less physically-demanding job may have a tougher time securing benefits than someone who is less educated and whose job history includes positions requiring rigorous physical activity. That’s because the agency will look at whether there is any other type of work you may be capable of doing. Someone with more education will be seen as having more opportunities.
Those with conditions listed in the Compassionate Allowances list may have an easier time overcoming these hurdles, but should still consider hiring an advocate to help ensure their rights are protected throughout the process.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Compassionate Allowances Conditions, Complete List, Updated Dec. 1, 2012, U.S. Social Security Administration