Expediting the lengthy SSDI application process

People who apply for SSDI benefits could wait for months or years to be approved or denied.

Social Security Disability Insurance is designed to help people who are unable to work due to a long-term disability or terminal condition. People who meet the definition of disability under this program often have trouble making ends meet, as their physical and/or mental limitations make it difficult for them to maintain a job. People who apply for these services, however, may be waiting for months and even years for their case to be approved and actually begin receiving the benefits that they so desperately need.

The facts

According to the Social Security Administration, a number of SSDI cases are dismissed each year from applicants who pass away while waiting for their benefits. The SSA was, at one point, nearly one million cases behind in processing these applications. If an applicant is unfairly denied, he or she must enter into a lengthy appeals process, which could take up to two years to complete. At this point, disabled people may be struggling to afford housing, food and other necessities of life.

Case in point

One woman who was suffering from a heart problem engaged in a three-year battle to receive disability benefits. During this time, she developed muscle atrophy, abnormal leakage of blood in her heart, fatigue and seizures. As her condition worsened, the battle to receive SSDI benefits grew harder. Once her application was finally approved, she received her first benefits check. Sadly, she passed away just six months after receiving the first check.

The Compassionate Allowances Program

The Compassionate Allowances Program was designed to expedite the SSDI process for people with serious conditions that undoubtedly meet the disability standards. This saves the SSA representative from ordering additional medical screenings and obtaining extensive documentation from physicians regarding the applicant's condition.

The conditions on Compassionate Allowances list are chosen using information gathered from a counsel of scientific and medical experts, as well as public outreach hearings and research conducted at the National Institutes of Health. Some conditions included on the approved list involve several types of cancer, including brain, ovarian, thyroid, bladder, breast, pancreatic, prostate and lung cancer. The list also includes a number of rare hereditary disorders and terminal conditions, such as spinal muscular atrophy, tay sachs disease and aplastic anemia.

Finding legal assistance

Filing for SSDI benefits is often more difficult that people may think. It is crucial that your initial application is filled out correctly and all supporting documents are included in order to avoid a denial. Whether you are just beginning your application or must file an appeals, you may want to seek counsel from an attorney in North Carolina regarding your legal rights and options.