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Social Security adds new Compassionate Allowances

Social Security now has 12 additional 'Compassionate Allowances' conditions involving severe heart diseases, bringing the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 100.

Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security's standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders and a number of rare disorders that affect children.

The Compassionate Allowances initiative is one of two parts of the agency's fast-track system for certain disability claims. When combined with the Quick Disability Determination process, Social Security last year approved more than 100,000 cases, usually in less than two weeks. This year, the agency expects to fast-track nearly 150,000 cases.

Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions. The hearings also have helped the agency identify additional ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions.

'By definition, these illnesses are so severe that we don't need to fully develop the applicant's work history to make a decision,' said Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue. As a result, beginning in August, Social Security is eliminating this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.

For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.