Social Security Disability or SSDI, is not easy to obtain. If applied to before age 62, you need to check a lot of boxes.
But if you qualify for a “compassionate allowance,” you may obtain payments. Recently the Social Security Administration expanded their qualification list to 12 medical conditions.
“When a person applies for disability benefits, Social Security must obtain medical records in order to make an accurate determination,” the agency states.
“The agency incorporates leading technology to identify potential Compassionate Allowances cases and make quick decisions. Social Security’s Health IT brings the speed and efficiency of electronic medical records to the disability determination process. With electronic records transmission, Social Security can quickly obtain a claimant’s medical information, review it, and make a faster determination.”
Here are the new allowances:
- 1p36 Deletion Syndrome
- Anaplastic Ependymoma
- FOXG1 Syndrome
- Leber Congenital Amaurosis
- Metastatic Endometrial Adenocarcinoma
- Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Degeneration
- Childhood, Primary Omental Cancer
- Sarcomatoid Carcinoma of the Lung – Stages II-IV
- Trisomy 9
For more information about the program, including a list of all Compassionate Allowances conditions, please visit www.ssa.gov/compassionateallowances.
SSDI is not to be confused with Social Security Income (SSI), although many people think they are the same thing. As with any program involving Social Security, there are a raft of rules that you need to know, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA):
- You can apply for SSI online only if you are an adult with a disability — and qualify based on Social Security’s rules.
- SSI applications are not available online for people applying for a child under age 18 with a disability or a non-disabled senior aged 65+. These individuals must visit their local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- You’ll need documentation. Social Security uses a strict definition of disability that relates to your ability to perform work and the projected length of your disability. It requires that you submit medical records to support your application.
- If you have a short-term or partial disability, you are not eligible for SSI or SSDI. The time period to process SSDI varies widely, but the average is 3-5 months from the date of application.
One important note to keep in mind: “You can apply for early Social Security retirement benefits beginning at age 62. However, taking retirement early reduces the amount of your benefit for the rest of your life. But if you get SSDI, that benefit amount would be equal to your full Social Security retirement age benefit,” states the NCOA.
Since the rules for Social Security programs are complex, it pays to give them a call (above) or visit your nearest Social Security Administration office.