Understandably, the biggest criticism claimants have of the Social Security Administration is the lengthy waits for a decision.
It’s not unusual for claimants in some states to wait more than two years to get a hearing before an administrative law judge and then finally get approved for benefits.
A lot can happen in that time. People lose their homes and their savings. Some even pass away due to the conditions they’re seeking benefits for.
In some circumstances though, it is possible to get approved for benefits in just a few weeks or months, but it requires a specific diagnosis or documentation.
In 2008, SSA instituted the Compassionate Allowance List. Originally made up of only 50 conditions, its since grown to more than 200 impairments.
The idea behind the list is that some conditions are without a doubt disabling and should be quickly approved with little medical documentation.
Some of the conditions on the list include Lou Gehrig’s Disease, early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and many types of cancers.
However, a cancer diagnosis will not automatically qualify for a Compassionate Allowance. Usually Social Security requires documentation that the cancer has metastasized to qualify for an expedited decision. In many cases, a claimant will not initially qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, but will after several months while waiting for a decision on their claim.
Not all conditions that are fatal make the list either. For example, HIV is not on the list and requires a specific showing of several symptoms to automatically qualify for benefits.
Finally, while the Compassionate Allowance can greatly shorten your wait time for a decision, it’s important to keep in mind that how quickly Social Security makes a decision still depends on when the agency receives medical records. If it takes several weeks or months to obtain all the necessary documentation, that can still extend the wait time quite a bit even for a Compassionate Allowance case.