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What are compassionate allowances?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2020 | Social Security Disability

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, your application goes through a process where the Social Security Administration must determine if you meet the requirements to receive benefits. Part of the process is assessing whether the condition you have is a disability under the SSA definition.

The SSA explains that a compassionate allowance is a determination that allows for fast identification of disabilities that meet its definition of disability and therefore qualify you for benefits.


Compassionate allowance conditions are those that typically will be those illnesses and diseases that routinely qualify as a disability. These include things like brain disorders and some types of cancer. The SSA maintains a list of these conditions so that if you file with one of them, it puts your application on a fast-track for approval.

To get on the list, the SSA will consider various sources of information. It looks into information from scientific and medical experts and at research coming from the National Institutes of Health. The SSA also considers public comments and opinions.


Having a condition that qualifies as a compassionate allowance means that you will likely have a shorter application wait period. The SSA can quickly identify your condition as qualifying and will only need to verify it through your medical documentation. It will not have to go through the process of checking to see that the condition meets the requirements for a disability.

For you, this means that you can typically receive your approval much faster than average. You will be able to start receiving much-needed benefits quickly without long delays or the potential for additional information requests, which are common when the SSA is assessing a condition to determine if it is a disability.



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