Faster Disability Claim Process for Some Cancers
Article date: October 28, 2008
Social Security's Compassionate Allowances Program Cuts Wait for Benefits
People with certain types of cancer and other diseases will now be able to get their federal disability claims processed within days, thanks to a new initiative by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The Compassionate Allowances program, announced this week, will help seriously ill people get their disability benefits sooner.
The new program covers 50 conditions, including 25 cancers, that are so serious that they obviously meet the standards required for the Social Security Administration to make a finding that the person is disabled.
"Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do," Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue said in a statement announcing the new program. "This initiative will allow us to make decisions on these cases in a matter of days, rather than months or years."
The initiative will provide much-needed financial help -- and much more quickly -- to many people with cancer who cannot work because of their illness, said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), the non-profit, nonpartisan sister organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS and ACS CAN worked with Social Security to develop the program.
"Unfortunately, many hard working people with cancer may not only face intensive treatment to save their lives, but they may also find themselves truly unable to perform their daily work-related activities and as a result, may face serious financial concerns, such as the loss of income and the cost of treatment," Smith said.
Under the standard application process for Social Security Disability Insurance, it typically takes several months for someone to begin receiving benefits.
The list of 50 conditions currently covered by the Compassionate Allowances program was developed through public hearings and in consultation with medical experts. New conditions could be added in the future. A hearing on extending the program to people with brain injuries is scheduled for Nov. 18.
For information on insurance, legal issues, and financial concerns that may affect people with cancer, see our section Financial and Legal Matters.
Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff
ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.
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