Social Security accelerates decision-making process for those with severe disabilities

The Social Security Administration said it has accelerated its decision-making process for those with severe disabilities. (iStock)

The Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a new process last week to accelerate its decision-making for those with severe disabilities.

The SSA's Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims where an applicant’s condition or disease clearly meets its statutory standard for disability, the agency said in a press release. Because of the severe nature of these conditions, the claims are often allowed based on medical confirmation of the diagnosis.

About 800,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through this accelerated process, the SSA said. The program permits a total of 266 conditions.

"The Social Security Administration is committed to reducing barriers and ensuring people who are eligible for benefits receive them," Social Security Acting Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi said. "Our Compassionate Allowances program allows us to strengthen that commitment by accelerating the disability application process for people with the most severe disabilities."

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Social Security adds 12 new conditions to the program

When someone applies for Social Security disability benefits, the agency must obtain medical records to make a decision about their eligibility. But the SSA said it incorporates technology to find those that fall under the Compassionate Allowances program, enabling it to make quick decisions for these applicants. 

"Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process," the SSA said. "With electronic records transmission, Social Security can quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a fast determination."

The SSA announced 12 new conditions that are eligible for Compassionate Allowances. These conditions include:

  • T-cell Lymphoma
  • Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm
  • Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease
  • Microvillus Inclusion Disease – Child, Mowat-Wilson Syndrome
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Excess Blasts
  • NUT Carcinoma
  • Pfeiffer Syndrome - Types II and III
  • Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia
  • Posterior Cortical Atrophy
  • Renal Amyloidosis – AL Type
  • Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

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Social Security benefits to increase in 2023

Social Security recipients could see a major increase in benefit payments next year amid high inflation, according to the latest forecast from The Senior Citizens League.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of inflation, increased by 8.5% annually in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This was down slightly from 9.1% in June, but remains near its 40-year high.

Because inflation levels remain high, the cost of living average (COLA) for 2023 is predicted to be 9.6%, the highest level since 1981, according to The Senior Citizens League.

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