What is the Social Security Compassionate Allowances List?

The Social Security Compassionate Allowances List (CAL) is a register of medical conditions and illnesses that clearly meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) criteria for disability benefits. Created in 2008, the CAL was established to expedite the process of being approved for and receiving benefits for people with severe disabilities that automatically meet the SSA’s definition of disability.

Typically, it can take several months for disability benefit applications to be processed. However, if your condition is on the CAL, this waiting period should be reduced.

What Conditions make up the Social Security Compassionate Allowances List?

Examples of conditions on the CAL include the following:

  • Certain forms of fast-growing cancer
  • Brain diseases
  • ALS
  • Mixed dementias
  • Genetic diseases
  • Terminal illnesses

Many other rare and serious diseases are also included. The SSA website contains a complete list of CAL conditions you can consult to look up a condition.

The list currently comprises over 200 conditions. The SSA carefully considers information from reliable sources before making any potential additions to the CAL. However, members of the public may submit proposals for CAL additions via the SSA’s website. So if there is a condition that you believe should be on the list, you can make a case for it to the SSA.

Information gathered from the following sources is used in SSA decision making regarding conditions on the CAL:

  • The Social Security and Disability Determination Service communities
  • Medical and scientific expert
  • Research alongside the National Institute of Health (NIH)
  • Proposals from the public

Just last year, in 2019, four more conditions were added to the list: CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder, Pitt Hopkins Syndrome, Primary Peritoneal Cancer, and Richter Syndrome.

How Do You Apply for Benefits?

The process of applying for Compassionate Allowance is much the same as applying for a regular disability allowance. It’s crucial that you outline your condition explicitly by using language specific to your case, and that any claims are supported and signed off by your physician. Doing so will help identify your case and should lead to a speedier process.

It’s recommended that you apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled. There are three ways to apply for disability benefits:

  1. Complete an online application.
  2. Apply over the phone.
  3. Visit your local Social Security office (ensure that you make an appointment ahead of time).

For further information on how to complete the above, visit the SSA website.

What information do you need to apply?

You need personal information, including the following information:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Proof of age
  • Contact information and details of doctors, medical workers, hospitals, and institutions where you were treated, as well as the dates of your visits
  • A list of the medications that you are taking and the doses of each
  • Any medical records that you have
  • Any medical laboratory and test results
  • Your work history
  • Your most recent W-2 form or a copy of your federal tax return

You will also need to provide information about family members, including:

  • The Social Security numbers and proof of age of any member of the family that might be entitled to benefits
  • Original documents or certified copies providing proof of marriage if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as the dates of any previous marriages

The Social Security Administration is available to assist in securing any relevant documents or information that you need.

While applying for Social Security disability benefits with a condition on the Compassionate Allowance List is usually relatively straightforward, a social security disability attorney can help you ensure you are placed in the compassionate allowance program by aiding with your application.

Chris Turn

Chris Turn