Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced 52 new Compassionate Allowances conditions, primarily involving neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases. The Compassionate Allowances 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. Commissioner Astrue made the announcement during his remarks at the World Orphan Drug Congress near Washington, D.C.
“Social Security will continue to work with the medical community and patient organizations to add more conditions,” Commissioner Astrue said. “With our Compassionate Allowances program, we quickly approved disability benefits for nearly 61,000 people with severe disabilities in the past fiscal year, and nearly 173,000 applications since the program began.”
The Compassionate Allowances initiative identifies claims where the nature of the applicant’s disease or condition clearly meets the statutory standard for disability. With the help of sophisticated new information technology, the agency can quickly identify potential Compassionate Allowances and then quickly make decisions.
Social Security launched the Compassionate Allowances program in 2008 with a list of 50 diseases and conditions. The announcement of 52 new conditions, effective in August, will increase the total number of Compassionate Allowances conditions to 165. The conditions include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, a number of rare genetic disorders of children, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, immune system conditions, and other disorders. In his speech that opened the Congress, Commissioner Astrue thanked the National Institutes of Health for research they conducted which helped identify many of the conditions added to the list.