The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits can be time-consuming and complex, but the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative allows certain individuals the opportunity to have their applications approved more quickly. The CAL initiative applies to both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications.
You do not need to apply for the CAL initiative. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses sophisticated software to search applications for conditions that meet the criteria and flag them for expedited processing. If your application has been prepared correctly, you will automatically receive a Compassionate Allowance.
If you receive a Compassionate Allowance, your case could be decided in days instead of the months it typically takes for the SSA to review an application. Therefore, knowing if you qualify for the CAL initiative can help you make more informed decisions about the best way to manage your finances while you wait for a final decision on your application for benefits.
Please note that the SSA’s five-month waiting period for SSDI benefits is not waived if you are granted a Compassionate Allowance. Federal law quires that all applicants be disabled for at least five complete months before they can begin receiving benefits as a method of discouraging people with short-term disabilities from seeking assistance.
Conditions qualify for the Compassionate Allowances initiative if they are severe enough by definition to meet the SSA’s standard of disability. The full list of conditions qualifying for Compassionate Allowances can be found on the Social Security website. The list includes several types of cancer, as well as brain disorders and certain rare conditions affecting children.
Note that cancer patients only qualify for CAL when their disease is in the advanced stages. For example, breast cancer must have distant metastases that are inoperable or unresectable to qualify. Patients who have early-stage cancers with a high likelihood of a positive treatment outcome do not qualify for Compassionate Allowances.
Adding Conditions as Compassionate Allowances
If you know of a condition that is not on the Compassionate Allowances list, but you believe it should be added, you can submit it for consideration online. Conditions are added based on information from the public, as well as comments received from the Social Security and Disability Determination Service communities, National Institutes of Health (NIH) research, and relevant medical and scientific expert opinions.
Comparisons With Quick Disability Determination
The CAL initiative is similar to Quick Disability Determination (QDD) cases. QDD cases are not limited to specific illnesses or impairments. These claims are flagged based on the likelihood that the condition will qualify for benefits, and the disability examiner has some discretion on whether an application will be referred to the QDD unit.
The primary difference between Compassionate Allowances and QDD claims is that the SSA requires a medical consultant to assess and sign a CAL case before approval or denial. Consultants are optional for the approval of QDD claims.
Comparisons With Terminal Illness Program
The Terminal Illness Program (TERI) provides expedited processing for claims where the illness is likely to result in death. An office representative or a claims examiner can send a claim into the TERI program when the applicant is receiving hospice care or if the applicant’s doctor states the condition is likely to result in death.
There is a significant overlap in conditions eligible for TERI and those which qualify for the CAL initiative. However, regardless of which expedited processing program an application is placed into, the end result is the same.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Denied Social Security Disability Benefits?
If you or a loved on has been denied Social Security Disability Benefits you need to speak with an experienced SSD attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Virginia Beach office directly at 757.490.3500 to schedule your free consultation. We have offices throughout Virginia including Chesapeake, Newport News, Norfolk and Suffolk.