The Social Security Administration recently added 13 new conditions to the Compassionate Allowances program that fast-tracks disability decisions within the agency.
The new conditions were introduced in December as part of an ongoing effort to innovate and streamline the agency’s work, according to Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue.
The conditions that were added to the list mostly are immune system, mental and neurological disorders, according to a press release from the agency. They include the following:
• Malignant Multiple Sclerosis
• ALS or Parkinsonism Dementia Complex
• Pulmonary Kaposi Sarcoma
• Angelman Syndrome
• Paraneoplastic Pemphigus
• Multicentric Castleman Disease
• Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
• Lewy Body Dementia
• Primary Effusion Lymphoma
• Corticobasal Degeneration
• Lowe Syndrome
• Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma
• Multiple System Atrophy
The SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program spots conditions that always meet the standard of disability for the purpose of Social Security Disability Insurance. This way, once an individual is diagnosed with the specific condition, their case can be moved more quickly through the system.
“We need to keep innovating and making our work more efficient,” Astrue said in a press release. “With our Compassionate Allowances program, we quickly approved disability benefits for more than 60,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year. We have made significant improvements, but we can always do more.”
The Compassionate Allowances program began in 2008 with only 50 conditions. The original list included cancers, rare genetic disorders, adult brain disorders and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. With the addition of 13 in December, the program now lists 113 conditions that can be moved through the agency with less stress for the individual, according to the release.
New technologies made available to the agency allow for faster identification of individuals with Compassionate Allowances so that quick decisions can be made.
The agency is committed to the relatively young program as an efficient upgrade of protocol. In the fall, the Social Security Administration launched a grant program available to graduate students to help the agency improve its list. The agency already awarded a grant worth $1.5 million over the course of five years to a group called Policy Research Inc.
The Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program is designed to improve the disability process. The program is actively looking for graduate students to apply for grant stipends for relevant research that is innovative in the field of disabilities.
The agency also recently upgraded the disability application online for individuals with conditions on the Compassionate Allowances list.