Social Security Compassionate Allowances
If you have either pleural mesothelioma or peritoneal mesothelioma the Social Security Administration (SSA) is making it easier for you to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.
Mesothelioma is found most often among workers at companies that manufactured asbestos-containing products or workers in certain trades or industries that handled asbestos. Most patients do not receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma until after symptoms appear, which can be 30 years or more after exposure. By the time the symptoms appear the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. Most patients are no longer able to work at this point and find it difficult to manage the financial impact of the disease.
The compassionate allowances initiative was announced in October 2008 as a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards. There are 88 qualifying rare diseases and cancers, including mesothelioma, on the list.
The SSA held public hearings to gather information from experts on rare diseases and cancers, enlisted the assistance of the National Institutes of Health, and also held public outreach hearings and received public comments to develop the initial list of 50 conditions comprised of 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers.
In February, 2010 the SSA added 38 conditions by holding additional public outreach hearings, working closely with the National Institutes of Health, the Alzheimer’s Association, the National Organization for Rare Disorders and other groups. SSA officials also reviewed information gathered from previous hearings and consulted with their internal expert medical staff.
Compassionate allowances will allow the SSA to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal objective medical information. When combined with the agency’s Quick Disability Determination process, nearly 10 percent of disability claims, or 250,000 cases, could be decided in an average of six to eight days. Patients with mesothelioma who are unable to work will now be eligible to quickly begin receiving their Social Security benefits.
The launch of the compassionate allowances program is another step to ensure Americans with disabilities, especially those with certain cancers and rare diseases such as mesothelioma, quickly get the benefits they need.
See Compassionate Allowances for a full list of conditions.