The process of getting a claim for disability benefits approved through the Social Security Administration generally takes a few weeks, and can even stretch into several months if the initial application is denied. However, under certain conditions, a Social Security Disability claim can be put on a fast track so that it is processed and approved much earlier. In this post, I'll spell out some of the details that make up the Social Security "fast track" claim program.
The Social Security Administration operates a program called the Compassionate Allowances program. As a part of this program, Social Security maintains a list of conditions that are considered to be so serious that they require approval at an accelerated pace. Some of those conditions include:
- Several aggressive forms of cancer, such as adrenal cancer, gallbladder cancer, and liver cancer
- Huntington Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson's disease
- Several serious heart and lung conditions
A full list of current Compassionate Allowance conditions can be found here.
If your doctor can document one of these types of diseases, you should make sure that Social Security knows about it when you submit your application. The application will include several places where you will have this opportunity. I recommend that, at a minimum, you disclose the condition when you describe the conditions that are currently being treated by your doctor.
The "rules" that Social Security follows for determining whether you are disabled, and therefore entitled to benefits, are not different if you apply under the Compassionate Allowances Program. Unfortunately, this includes the rules that require you to have paid a sufficient amount into the system in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. And, as is the case with all other claims, if you cannot qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you will need to see if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income benefits, which require your income and assets to be below certain levels in order meet the requirements for that program.
The good news is that, even though you'll need to qualify under the standard "rules" for disability, most of the conditions listed for Compassionate Allowances tend to be serious ones that automatically qualify most of the time, and - as mentioned above - the speed at which your claim is processed will be accelerated considerably.