The approval or denial of a claim for two disability benefits administered by Social Security – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or the Supplemental Security Income (SSI), can take many months.
Wait times for an initial determination on disability claims grew dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing from 122 days in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 169 days around the same period of 2021. Waiting can be difficult and painful, especially if you have no other source of income or when your health conditions are severe enough to significantly reduce your life expectancy.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) can accelerate processing for disability applications that involve certain health conditions, are dealing with very difficult personal circumstances, or have served in the United States military. Even if you do not fall into one of these “critical case” categories, you can take measures to speed up your claim, such as:
- Browse the list of Compassionate Allowances. You are eligible for an expedited application process if you have one of the very severe medical conditions recognized by the Social Security Administration under the Compassionate Allowances Initiative. The Social Security Administration launched the Compassionate Allowance program in 2008 and is constantly updating the medical conditions that are eligible for expedited evaluation.
- Complete and accurately fill up your initial application. Two out of every three applications seeking Social Security disability payments are denied at first. Many times, it’s because the applicant didn’t provide adequate information and proof of their disability or didn’t fill up the application forms correctly. Although these applicants may later be eligible for benefits, they may have to wait longer due to the appeals procedure.
- Seek the services of a Monroe Social Security disability attorney. A disability lawyer can ensure that your application is correctly completed and can track your application status to ensure that there are no needless delays. Furthermore, if an appeal is needed, a social security disability lawyer can file it as soon as feasible. Call us for a consultation today!
Compassionate Allowances (CAL)
The Social Security Administration now provides a Compassionate Allowances program for disabled people who have filed for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) as a response to concerns about lengthy disability determination delays.
The Compassionate Allowances program expedites benefits for disability applicants who have medical problems that are so severe that they would clearly qualify for disability in an SSA impairment listing. If you have a Compassionate Allowance-designated medical condition, the SSA will grant you disability payments based on a relatively minimal amount of objective medical information. You can get a favorable award decision as quickly as 10 days after filing your application.
Declaring to having a disability or ailment that is in the Compassionate Allowance list (CAL) is enough to have your benefits application approved quickly. Your medical records must be submitted to validate your claim, but if a Compassionate Allowance condition is found, you will nearly always be automatically eligible for disability benefits.
Because medical providers might take weeks or months to provide records to Social Security, a claims investigator will usually phone your treating doctors instead of writing to them. However, including some medical records that support your diagnosis (like a biopsy report on cancer) along with your claim will help expedite your application.
While Compassionate Allowances provides for a faster disability determination, SSDI claimants must still wait five months following their disability onset date to start receiving payouts (and 24 months after their onset date before Medicare benefits begin).
Which Medical Conditions Are Qualified For Compassionate Allowances?
Many cancers, certain types of muscular dystrophy as well as muscular atrophy, ALS, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and a few other conditions qualify for Compassionate Allowances. A diagnosis alone (with accompanying evidence) is enough to qualify you for a compassionate allowance for particular conditions, such as ALS, esophageal cancer, or an organ transplant. Other medical conditions on the list have specific requirements on how serious the medical condition has to be. For instance, malignant melanoma qualifies only if it has metastasized. In some medical cases such as cancer, the illness can qualify for a compassionate allowance once it worsens.
In 2020, Social Security introduced five additional, rare conditions to the CAL:
- Infantile and Juvenile GM1 Gangliosidosis
- Nicolaides-Baraister Syndrome
- Rubinstein-Tybai Syndrome
- Secondary Adenocarcinoma of the Brain.
- Tumors with Desmoplastic Small Round Cell
A comprehensive list of illnesses that qualify under Compassionate Allowances may be found online on the Social Security website.
Quick Disability Determination (QDD)
Quick Disability Determination is also one of the Social Security Administration’s “fast-track” procedures for approving disability benefits in as little as a few days. When you submit your disability application, the Social Security Administration will create an electronic file containing your personal information and medical history. QDD screens your file using a predictive computer modeling tool for factors that indicate you’re very likely to be granted benefits and flags it for expedited processing.
How Quickly Can QDD Disability claims be approved?
When it concerns QDD disability claims, SSA like to get things started right immediately. After receiving your file, a disability examiner should start reviewing it within a day or two. Your application could be approved within 20 days provided your medical records are complete and that the QDD unit will agree with your stated onset date (the date of your becoming disabled).
However, if your record lacks sufficient medical evidence or that the moment you became disabled is difficult to establish, the QDD examiner may remove your application from the fast track program. This does not mean that you will be refused benefits, but rather your case will be processed under the SSA’s regular (and slower) channels.
Terminal Illness Program (TERI)
When a terminally sick individual files for SSI or SSDI disability benefits, the SSA will process the application quickly and with extra care for the patient’s emotional state. A terminal patient, for example, will not be told that their file would be processed through this terminal illness program.
How Does Social Security Administration Identify TERI?
A case in which the applicant’s death is imminent is known as a “terminal illness case.” For an application to be expedited through the TERI program, an applicant does not need to specify on the application form that the medical diagnosis is terminal. A field officer or a claims examiner at the Disability Determination Services may forward a claim to the TERI program if a doctor, family member, or a friend certifies that the illness is anticipated to end in death or if the claimant is either receiving inpatient or home hospice care.
Furthermore, if the patient has filed for disability due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the patient will be placed under the TERI program.
What Are The Medical Conditions That Qualify for TERI?
TERI is available for the medical conditions below. This list, however, is not complete. Any terminal illness may be eligible for accelerated processing under TERI.
- Metastatic cancer, Stage IV cancer, cancer that has returned after treatment, or cancer that is inoperable
- Esophageal, liver, pancreatic, gallbladder, as well as brain cancer
- Small cell cancer or oat cell carcinoma
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) or acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- reliance on a cardiopulmonary life-support device
- Pulmonary failure necessitating constant oxygen and the assistance of caregivers
- Chronic heart failure
- Comatose for at least 30 days.
- A newborn suffering from a deadly genetic or congenital condition.
- In need of a bone marrow transplant, a heart transplant, a lung transplant, or a liver transplant.
Like any other disability case, the DDS disability examiner must meet with a medical expert before rendering a TERI determination.
Presumptive Disability Program
SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is a monthly recurring cash benefit granted to people with low-income and low-asset who are blind or handicapped. These people have a condition that prevents them from working and financially supporting themselves. Because filing for SSI disability benefits can be time-consuming, the Social Security Administration has made some disabilities eligible for temporary benefits.
These are called presumptive disability benefits. These benefits are available for the first 6 months while the Social Security Administration is processing your disability claim. SSDI applicants are not eligible for presumptive disability benefits.
Seek The Services Of A Monroe Social Security Disability Attorney
Hiring a disability benefits lawyer provides you a fresh set of eyes and can review the small details in your application to increase the chances of your claim being approved in the quickest way possible. Because your application may include computation of your earnings, your Monroe disability attorney can double-check the figures for you.
If cost is preventing you from seeking counsel, you should be aware that you are not required to pay attorney fees if your claim is denied. If you are approved, your legal counsel will be entitled to a portion of your pay. This all means that if you file your application now, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket. Contact us now to set up an appointment with our disability lawyer!