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Social Security: Program Expanded in Effort to Hasten Disability Claims

According to numbers reported by the Associated Press, more than 56 million people receive some type of Social Security Benefit. Of these, roughly 11 million are disabled workers, children and spouses – many of which reside right here in Texas. Tragically, there will always be needy recipients who are simply too disabled to work, meaning these numbers will not likely drop any time soon.

In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has witnessed an increase of more than 20 percent in disability claims since 2008 – which is represented by a jump from 2.6 million claims in 2008 to 3.2 million in 2012, according to agency numbers.
With increases such as this, it is no wonder why it can take several months to get a hearing decision if your claim is initially rejected. However, there is a program created by the SSA that fast tracks claims for certain delineated conditions in order to get benefits to the neediest of recipients – this program is otherwise known as the Compassionate Allowances program.

Basically, the Compassionate Allowances program can be utilized by individuals with some of the rarest conditions – conditions that are so severe that sufferers meet the government’s disability requirements with ease. The program aims to have disability claims rendered within only 10 to 15 days. According to Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, the Compassionate Allowances program has helped 200,000 people receive expedited benefits since its inception.

The SSA recently added 35 conditions to the enumerated list of conditions covered by the Compassionate Allowances program – conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and early onset Alzheimer’s – bringing the number of total conditions and diseases covered under the program to 200.

Hopefully, these added conditions will be able to help those recipients most in need. Mirroring this desire was Commissioner Astrue when he recently expressed to the Associated Press, “If somebody’s got a confirmed diagnosis of ALS, you know that in essence, it’s not only a disability, it’s a death sentence, and there is no use in burdening them with paperwork.”

Social Security Disability Process

Although the recent SSA announcement does make the Social Security disability process easier for some, it also illustrates the difficulty of obtaining disability benefits for those who do not fall under one of the 200 specified conditions.

For instance, according to agency numbers roughly two-thirds of all disability claim applications are initially rejected – after which applicants often have to wait several months for a claim reconsideration and appeal decision.

Consequently, those who suffer from a disability will continue to have to deal the seemingly insurmountable paperwork and dead ends. Accordingly, it is often best to speak with an experience Social Security disability (SSD) benefits attorney if you are considering a claim submission. Even if you have already filed your own initial claim and were rejected, a knowledgeable SSD attorney may still be able to help.