Can I Qualify for an SSDI Compassionate Allowance if I’ve been diagnosed with a Tumor?

For weeks or months you simply didn’t feel quite right. You put off going to see your doctor for a time because this seemed like something that would clear-up on its own after a bit of time. But, rather than improving, your condition or impairment worsened until even performing basic tasks became a struggle. Eventually your condition forced you stop working in your job or trade after years of hard work and dedication.

While you can now focus on your recovery and getting better, there are probably many questions running through your mind. These questions may range from questions about your condition to worries about how you will pay your bills now that you are out of work.

For many people with serious illnesses or impairments, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide cash benefits while you focus on your recovery. In some instances, a compassionate allowance may allow for a benefits award to be expedited. However, the applicant must be able to satisfy all medical and non-medical program requirements to receive benefits. Our experienced Fayetteville AR disability lawyers can guide you through each and every step of the application and decisional process. He can also file an appeal on your behalf should your initial claim be rejected. Call our GKD Law at (479) 316-0438.

What is the Compassionate Allowance Program in Arkansas?

The Social Security Disability benefits process is often overwhelming because of how painstaking and daunting the process is. For many, even with the assistance of an experienced Harris disability attorney, the process is long and an approval is not guaranteed. This is especially the case if your condition is not included in the SSA’s published listing of impairments, or the “Blue Book.” Typically, to qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must prove that they are unable to engage in any type of gainful employment due to their medical condition or physical impairment. Additionally, your condition must be expected to last at least twelve months or result in your death.

The Social Security Administration does recognize that there are individuals who have serious debilitating medical conditions or specific diseases that are quickly degrading and negatively impacting their lives. To alleviate many of the hardships involved with the ordinary process, the SSA has created an easier and shorter path to obtaining much-needed disability benefits.

The expedited path created by the Social Security Administration is known as the Compassionate Allowance program. Whereas a typical application could take four to twelve months, possibly longer if you have to go through a lengthy appeals process, a claimant in the Compassionate Allowance program could have their disability benefits approved in a few weeks. When originally initiated in 2008, the SSA listed approximately 50 specific medical conditions that qualified for CAL. Today, that number has increased to over 200 listed disabilities and diseases. The list includes conditions such as early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, acute leukemia, and various forms of cancer that take the form of malignant tumors. Our Arkansas Social Security Disability lawyers will review your condition to help determine if it is included under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance list.

The SSA compiled the Compassionate Allowance list through a combination of public outreach hearings, opinions of medical experts, public feedback, discussions with the National Institute of Health, and internal debates. Rare disorders or diseases that have not yet been considered for the Compassionate Allowance program could be submitted to the SSA for consideration.

A Tumor May Qualify an Arkansas Applicant for a Compassionate Allowance

A doctor or medical professional does not diagnose a cancerous tumor lightly. This is because the condition can be so severe, that serious disruptions to one’s life are assured and death is a possibility. Often the diagnosis will come only after numerous objective medical tests confirm the doctor’s suspicion. However, because a malignant tumor can cause one’s condition to deteriorate so rapidly, many think that Social Security benefits will not help them because they may have already succumbed to the disease.

In recognition of medical conditions that are extremely serious and can progress rapidly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has established a Compassionate Allowance Program (CAL) to provide benefits on an expedited basis. CAL is intended to quickly provide benefits to individuals with conditions that are so severe that they obviously meet disability standards. Types of tumors that may qualify one for this program include:

  • Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor
  • Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Tumor)
  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (Adult Brain Tumor)
  • Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
  • Malignant Germ Cell Tumor
  • Malignant Renal Rhabdoid Tumor
  • Oligodendroglioma Brain Tumor – Grade III
  • Salivary Tumors

While these are the current types of tumors found on the SSA’s CAL conditions list, others can be added. The SSA accepts suggestions from concerned members of the public, advocacy groups, scientists, doctors, and others.

How Do I Apply for Compassionate Allowance in Arkansas?

Those who believe that they may qualify for expedited CAL benefits do not have to complete any special paperwork or otherwise perform any additional steps to apply for a CAL. Individuals should utilize the normal SSD claims filing process. The SSA will then review and flag applications that allege a CAL condition. These applications are then expedited.

Claims that are selected to be expedited are typically processed in about 3 weeks which is a significant improvement over typical processing times. However, actual processing times will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Did you include ample medical evidence? If the SSA is required to request medical records and test result, your claim may stall until the doctor or medical facility provides it.
  • Is a medical exam required? Allegations of certain conditions and impairments requires examination by a state doctor. Availability can delay the processing of claims.
  • Was the claim selected for QA review? In order to improve its level of service, some claims are randomly selected for the quality assurance program.

While there is no additional money available for beneficiaries of the CAL program, the significantly expedited processing times can provide much-needed assistance more quickly. CAL is applicable to both SSDI claims and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims.

The Compassionate Allowance Application is Easier in Arkansas

The Social Security Disability benefits application is complicated and burdensome. Anyone applying for disability benefits must provide extensive documentation detailing their medical condition, work history, and financial resources. You might fear that taking the extra step to apply for the Compassionate Allowance program adds more bureaucratic steps. Fortunately, the SSA not only expedited the time frame, it also simplified the application itself.

When your SSA case examiner reviews your application, they are looking to see if your listed medical condition is listed on the Compassionate Allowance list. If your attached paperwork and documentation confirm that you have a listed condition, you could start receiving your monthly benefit payments within a few weeks. It is still crucial to ensure you provide sufficient medical evidence. This is where our knowledge Arkansas disability lawyers could help you facilitate the process moving forward.

Compassionate Allowance Applicants in Arkansas Could Receive Their Disability Payments Sooner

One of the advantages of the Compassionate Allowance program is that claimants will receive their benefits sooner. However, even though the SSA sped up the process, you would not receive your benefits instantly.

There are a number of factors that will impact the time it takes for your claim to be processed. One is a simple question of math – the number of Social Security Disability Insurance claims the SSA receives will affect how quickly your application is processed – even if your condition is included on the Compassionate Allowance list. However, if your condition is eligible for CAL, it will be expedited after the initial application review. Other factors that could impact the time it takes to obtain an approval and your benefits might include a request for additional documentation or a required medical examination. Having our experienced Arkansas disability lawyers handle your application will help avoid some of these issues.

While your benefits will not begin instantly, you could expect your Compassionate Allowance benefits to being anywhere from two weeks to two months from the date the SSA received your SSDI application. Furthermore, your benefits will not arrive in the mail in the form of a check. The Social Security Administration issues disability payments electronically, either as a direct deposit to your bank account or through an authorized SSA debit card. As a Social Security Disability recipient, you get to pick which option works best for your unique situation.

Compassionate Allowance Benefits Recipients in Arkansas Are Eligible for Retroactive Pay

Typically, because of the expedited process, the back payment of Social Security Disability benefits is not relevant in Compassionate Allowance cases. The SSA will issue back pay when the application process takes a long time – though it will not include payment for the five-month waiting period. Because of the speed at which Compassionate Allowance claims are processed, back pay rarely factors into the process. Even if your case is processed and approved in one month, it is still less than the mandatory five-month waiting period that affects all Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

However, there are times when retroactive payments could come into play. If our Fort Smith disability attorneys could prove that your disability onset date was earlier than your application date, you could be eligible for retroactive benefits. The date of onset must be within twelve months of your application date. Therefore, retroactive benefits pay is to cover the time you were disabled but before your applied for disability benefits. In most cases, retroactive pay is provided in a lump sum payment sixty days after your claim is approved. The payment is made directly into your bank account or debit card. It is important to note that the five-month waiting period is still applicable. To illustrate this, imagine the onset date of your disability is January 1, 2021. The SSA agrees with the date given the medical documentation our Arkansas disability lawyers provided. If you filed your application on December 1, 2021 and it was approved on January 1, 2022, you would be eligible for retroactive pay dating back to June 1, 2021.

Rely On Our Disability Attorneys’ Experience in Arkansas

We work with individuals with extremely serious conditions, like many types of tumors, to help them secure SSDI benefits more quickly. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, call our experienced Arkansas Social Security Disability Lawyers at 479-439-1943 today or contact us online.