Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Under "Compassionate Allowance", Social Security Disability Review Now Fast-Tracked for ALS/Lou Gehrig's Disease

Anyone who has followed this blog from the beginning, or has seen a friend or family member apply for Social Security Disability, knows that it takes five months or more to get that first check. And, it takes two years to get Medicare coverage. Well, for someone diagnosed with ALS, that two-year period is waived, as it was for me. That "presumptive" status, and waiver of the two-year waiting period were granted to ALS as a result of advocacy efforts by the ALS Association.

But, until now, there was nothing anybody could do about the 5 months it took to review the case and get that first check. Well, that has changed According to an email I just received
"The ALS Association secured another victory in Washington, DC this week as the Social Security Administration (SSA) implemented a new initiative designed to speed disability applications for people with ALS and other serious conditions.

Under the new initiative, called Compassionate Allowances, SSA has included ALS on a list of conditions that automatically qualify for expedited reviews. When fully implemented, SSA estimates the initiative will shorten review times to an average of just six to eight days.

The ALS Association has strongly supported this initiative since it was first proposed in July 2007 and The Association testified in support of Compassionate Allowances during a hearing convened by SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue in December, 2007. (Our testimony is available on the Social Security website, here:



Diane J Standiford said...

It's about dang time!

Cynthia said...

I saw this post and got on the phone to SSA and asked why my friend's disability payments were going to be delayed 6 months from "date of disability" even though she has ALS. They told me that "Compassionate Allowance" is processing the determination of disability more quickly; it is NOT sending the payments earlier or more quickly. So the waiting period still applies to PALS!

We live in a sick society! What is "compassionate" about telling you sooner that you qualify as disabled but forcing you to wait 6 months during a terminal disease for any payments?

PALS should know that they can apply earlier for Disability, that they don't have to wait to stop working (as my friend was told). No guarantee of being approved, however. My friend didn't know this and waited until she could no longer work before applying.