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Disability benefits and the Compassionate Allowances initiative

When a worker in Florida becomes disabled, they may find their ability to earn a living has been greatly reduced or even eliminated. In these situations, it is important that they receive Social Security disability benefits as soon as possible. Yet is there a way to expedite their application?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a method known as the Compassionate Allowances initiative that provides disabled workers with a means to expedite their disability application. This allowance is made available for workers who suffer a medical condition that is so disabling that it obviously qualifies as a disability under the SSA's definition of that term.

To receive Social Security disability benefits, a worker must not be able to perform their prior job duties or adjust to other job duties, and their disability must have lasted for a minimum of one year or be fatal. There is not a special form that workers' need to fill out to be considered for the Compassionate Allowance initiative. Instead, workers will use the standard process for applying for benefits, and if their medical condition is one listed as such by the SSA, the workers' application may be expedited.

For workers with a medical condition that is listed as a Compassionate Allowance condition, the SSA's decision regarding whether the worker will be awarded benefits may take merely weeks. Without the Compassionate Allowance, a decision could take months or even years. Factors that go into determining whether a claim will be expedited include whether the worker needs a medical examination, how long it takes for the SSA to receive medical evidence regarding a workers' claim and whether the worker's application is subjected to a random quality assurance review.

Disabled workers often find themselves in an extremely difficult financial situation. Expediting their claims may make a world of difference for these workers. Workers can consult a list of medical conditions that qualify for the Compassionate Allowance to determine if their claim may be considered for expedition.

Source: ssa.gov, "Compassionate Allowances Frequently Asked Questions," accessed Feb. 21, 2015

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