Conditions That May Expedite Approval for Social Security Disability

man with condition that automatically qualifies for disabilityDid you know that certain conditions may automatically qualify a claimant for Social Security Disability?

The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances program helps severely disabled individuals avoid the lengthy claims process that can take several months to more than a year. The program provides expedited processing for serious medical conditions under an SSA impairment listing.

If you require assistance filing a disability claim or appealing a denial notice, an experienced Oshkosh-based Social Security Disability lawyer at our firm is here to help. We know what it takes for claimants to get approved for disability benefits. Let us review your situation and determine if we may be able to help you during a risk-free, zero-obligation consultation.

Free Case Review. Call (877) 888-5201 today.

Compassionate Allowances and Social Security Disability

Certain diseases and conditions are clearly so disabling that the SSA will expedite the approval process for disability benefits. Compassionate Allowances is a fast-track program that identifies and lists serious and life-threatening conditions that, by definition, meet the standard for disability.

In other words, you must have a disabling condition, which renders you unable to work and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Compassionate allowances apply to both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

There are more than 200 medical conditions on the list, including certain cancers, rare and genetic diseases, neurological disorders and terminal illnesses.

Conditions on the compassionate allowances list (CAL) include, but are not limited to:

  • Acute leukemia
  • Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (a form of thyroid cancer)
  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma (a form of liver cancer)
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer

If your medical condition is not on the list or is not presently eligible for a compassionate allowance, be sure to check the SSA’s website for regular updates.

The SSA identifies new conditions from information provided by the public, Social Security and Disability Determination Service communities, medical and scientific experts, and research provided by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You can also suggest the name of a condition for consideration.

Filing for Disability with a Compassionate Allowance

You do not apply specifically for a compassionate allowance. The SSA reviews all disability claims to determine which claims qualify as compassionate allowances.

Should you have a CAL condition, it is best to file a claim for disability benefits sooner rather than later. Your condition must be clearly documented and validated through medical evidence.

Many compassionate allowance cases are due to cancer. For example, the SSA may ask that you submit your biopsy report and a letter from your physician detailing your diagnosis.

Unlike a typical disability claim, minimal objective information is required. Proof of a serious medical condition is enough to presume disability.

How Are Compassionate Allowances Cases Processed?

The SSA automatically places claimants who qualify for compassionate allowances ahead of other claimants to ensure that their cases are handled swiftly.

For some conditions, you may be approved for disability benefits within 10 days from the filing date. The average time for the SSA to process a compassionate allowance case is about two weeks.

If you have a CAL condition but have yet to hear back within one month after filing a claim, be sure to contact the SSA. A licensed lawyer at Sigman Janssen is also ready to navigate the claims process for you. He or she can help ensure that all the requirements are met to be entered into the CAL program.

Find Out if You Are Eligible for Disability Benefits

Filing a claim for disability benefits can be a complicated process. If you are not sure if you have a CAL condition, it is best to consult with an experienced lawyer. Your odds of approval can increase with the help of a lawyer. Sigman Janssen is ready to review your claim in a free consultation.

You are not obligated after meeting with us to move forward. There are no upfront fees to retain our services and no fees unless we help you get disability benefits. Contact us anytime, day or night.

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Substance Abuse and Social Security Disability

suffering from medical condition and substance abuseSuffering from a medical condition can be physically, mentally and financially demanding, causing some individuals to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms and limitations. However, substance abuse may stand as a barrier between applicants being able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. 

Below, our attorneys at Sigman Janssen discuss how drug addiction and alcoholism may affect a disability claim. If you need help filing a claim or have already received a denial notice, learn how we may be able to help during a free, no-obligation legal consultation. Many applicants are initially denied disability, but you may still be eligible for benefits.

How Substance Abuse Affects a Disability Claim

The Social Security Administration (SSA) cannot refuse to review a disability claim because an individual has a history of alcoholism or drug addiction. However, in certain cases, the continued use of drugs or alcohol could be grounds to deny a claim.

Abusing drugs or alcohol can lead to serious medical conditions and negatively impact your health. It can cause or contribute to heart disease, liver failure, nerve damage, personality disorders, among other health issues. Yet, many applicants may have medical conditions independent of their substance abuse.

The SSA will need to review your claim to assess how your addiction affects your medical condition. If your drug or alcohol use is seen as irrelevant to your condition, you may qualify for disability benefits. On the other hand, if your substance abuse is seen to cause or worsen your condition, you may be disqualified.

Ways the SSA Assesses Drug and Alcohol Use

The SSA uses a six-step process, otherwise known as a drug addiction and alcoholism (DAA) evaluation, to determine whether you may qualify for disability benefits.

  • Is DAA involved in the case? A record of your past and current substance abuse will be taken into consideration. If you have suffered or continue to suffer drug or alcohol abuse, the case moves to step two. There is likely to be a DAA evaluation if the applicant is using illicit or prescription drugs, such as opioids, depressants and stimulants (unless taken as prescribed).
  • Do your impairments, including your DAA, qualify you as disabled? If you fail to meet the SSA’s definition of a disability, despite your drug and alcohol abuse, your claim will be denied. If you are deemed disabled, the case will move forward to step three.
  • Is your drug addiction or alcoholism the only impairment? Drug addiction or alcoholism cannot be your sole disabling condition. If it is, you will not qualify for disability benefits. You must have a physical or mental condition in addition to DAA for the case to move forward to the next step.
  • Are your non-DAA impairments disabling on their own, or are they disabling due to the DAA? If your physical or mental impairments are only disabling because of your substance abuse, the DAA will be considered material and your disability claim will likely be denied.
  • Does the DAA affect or cause your impairments? If the answer is no, DAA is considered irrelevant and will not factor into the SSA’s final decision.  
  • Would your impairments be non-disabling if you did not currently suffer from DAA? The sixth step is arguably the most important. The SSA will evaluate whether you would still be disabled if your condition were to improve after you stopped using drugs or alcohol.

An Appleton-based Social Security Disability lawyer is ready to help guide you through this process. We know what it takes to establish that your condition is independent of your drug or alcohol use.

Being Appointed a Representative Payee

If you are approved for disability benefits but the SSA believes you are unable to responsibly manage your finances due to your drug or alcohol use, you may be required to have a representative payee.

The SSA will issue your disability payments to the representative payee, who will be in charge of these funds and prevent you from spending the funds on drugs or alcohol. This individual could be a family member, such as a parent, a friend, someone you trust or a qualified organization.

Schedule a Free Consultation to Get Started

Applicants who work with a lawyer may have a greater chance at being approved for disability benefits than those who do not. Our firm is here to offer advice and answer any questions about Social Security Disability, such as how one is notified after a benefits decision and the first step of the appeals process

An initial consultation is free of charge and confidential. There is no obligation or upfront fee involved.

Reach out today by calling (877) 888-5201.