On December 6, 2012, Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced 35 additional Compassionate Allowances conditions. This brings the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 200. Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. The program fast-tracks disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months or years. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children.
Rare diseases compromise the majority of the 200 conditions now under the Compassionate Allowance program, which started in 2008 with only 50 diagnoses but expands each year based upon input from the National Organization for Rare Disorders and other patient advocates and medical experts.
By definition, these conditions are so severe that Social Security does not need to fully develop the applicant's work history to make a decision. As a result, Social Security eliminated this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.
Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions. The hearings also have helped the agency identify ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions.
For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.