Commissioner of Social Security, Michael J. Astrue, announced that the agency is adding 38 more conditions to its list of Compassionate Allowances. This is the first expansion since the original list of 50 conditions – 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers – was announced in October 2008. The new conditions range from adult brain disorders to rare diseases that primarily affect children including: merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy, Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
“The addition of these new conditions expands the scope of Compassionate Allowances to a broader subgroup of conditions,” Astrue said in a news release. “The expansion we are announcing … means tens of thousands of Americans with devastating disabilities will now get approved for benefits in a matter of days rather than months and years.”
Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. In developing the expanded list of conditions, Social Security held public hearings and worked closely with the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Organization for Rare Disorders and other groups.
“This truly innovative program will provide invaluable assistance and support to patients and families coping with severely disabling rare diseases,” Peter L. Saltonstall, president and chief executive officer of the National Organization for Rare Disorders, said. “On behalf of those patients and families, I want to thank commissioner Astrue and his enthusiastic team for creating and now expanding a program that will have a direct impact on the quality of life of thousands of individuals.”
Social Security will begin electronically identifying these 38 new conditions March 1.