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SSA adds 12 conditions to fast-track list

The Social Security Administration announced this week that it has added 12 Compassionate Allowance conditions to its list of conditions that qualify for expedited processing. Beginning August 1, individuals with these conditions will no longer be required to provide a work history on their SSD applications.

The new conditions cover a variety of severe heart diseases. As Compassionate Allowances, they are conditions that automatically qualify for benefits and that kick the applications into a faster processing cycle. As the commissioner stated, the Administration "has an obligation to award benefits quickly to people whose medical conditions are so serious they clearly meet our disability standards."

One way the agency is expediting these applications is by recognizing that a benefit decision does not hinge on an applicant's work history. That section has been taken out of the paperwork for anyone with a condition on the list.

There are now 100 Compassionate Allowance conditions, thanks to the ones added this week. The Administration developed the list in part through seven public hearings. Those hearings also provided the agency with ideas for improving the application process for people with those conditions.

Again, the Compassionate Allowance initiative's focus is on serious illnesses, including certain cancers, adult brain disorders and a few rare conditions affecting children.

The Administration has implemented a two-part system for expediting certain disability claims. In addition to the Compassionate Allowances program, there is the Quick Disability Determination process. Together, these programs accounted for 100,000 cases processed in 2010, with an average processing time of two weeks. The number of fast-tracked applications will likely reach 150,000 in 2011.

The new conditions are: aortic atresia, left ventricular assist device (LVAD) recipient, Eisenmenger Symdrome, mitral valve atresia, endomyocardial fibrosis, primary cardiac amyloidosis, heart transplant graft failure, pulmonary atresia, heart transplant wait list - 1a/1b, single ventricle, hypoplastic left heart syndrome and tricuspid atresia.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Social Security Announces New Compassionate Allowances Conditions," 07/14/2011

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