Compassionate Allowances: Some Progress on Delays

Fayetteville, New York (WSYR-TV) – If you get so sick or injured that you can’t work anymore, Social Security disability kicks in. But it may take a few months for benefits to go into effect.

Currently, it takes nearly three months just to process disability applications. If they go to hearing, it could take up to a year and a half.

But what if you’re diagnosed with a disease that could take your life in just a matter of months?

For Edward “Hap” Abendroth, fatigue is a constant. Otherwise, he is dealing pretty well with the side effects of biweekly chemo treatments. Hap was diagnosed last December with pancreatic cancer. From the time of diagnosis, six to nine months is the usual life expectancy.

So Hap wasted no time in applying for Social Security disability to replace his lost income. With the help of Congressman Jim Walsh’s office, the application was fast-tracked. On February 3rd, he got word that his benefits were approved, and hap was told to expect his first check on June 25th, more than six months after his diagnosis.

Social Security is considering making quicker disability decisions for people with life threatening diseases. But even if those so-called “compassionate allowances” are made more quickly, there’s still a five to six month waiting period for the first check.

“There are so many other issues with a critical illness. And you feel very badly for people who are sidetracked by the financial concerns of not receiving the Social Security or disability payments,” Hap says. See story here:

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