On Jan. 15, the Social Security Administration added 25 new diseases to its list of qualified conditions for its Compassionate Allowances program. The Compassionate Allowances program gives individuals with certain conditions fast-track status so their disability claims can be approved in days rather than weeks or months.
Chicago attorney Howard Ankin says the fast-track claims program is extremely valuable and that he hopes the Social Security Administration will add additional diseases to the list in the future. He said, “I’ve seen how devastating some diseases can be. For many people, time isn’t on their side. I applaud Social Security for recognizing this fact and taking action.”
The Compassionate Allowances program helps individuals who suffer from a wide variety of neurological, immune, and digestive conditions. The addition of 25 new diseases brought the total count of eligible diseases for the program to 225. One dozen of the 25 new diseases were forms of cancer, including prostate cancer and soft cell cancer of the thymus. Other diseases added to the list include angiosarcoma, joubert syndrome, progressive bulbar palsy, and seckel syndrome.
The acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration said that more than 200,000 people have been helped by the Compassionate Allowances program since its inception. The program uses state-of-the-art technology to identify applications that may meet the qualifications and quickly move those applications through approval.
Congressman Elijah Cummings specifically mentioned prostate cancer in his praise of the program. He said that the inclusion of prostate cancer on the list of new additions will save lives and allow thousands of sufferers of the disease to access the treatment that they need.
Chicago attorney Howard Ankin says that he has too often seen people suffer while waiting for their benefits to be approved. He says that serious disability can put financial hardship on an entire family and may prevent the individual from receiving needed care. He hopes that Social Security will open the program to more diseases in the near future.
However, Mr. Ankin does not approve of the measures proposed to make to make disability requirements stricter as it is detailed here.