Prior to 2008, every Social Security Disability applicant had to go through the same disability claim process, regardless of how severe the disability may have been. Needless to say, there was public outcry for those individuals whose disability claims warranted immediate attention. After all, someone who may have only six months to live cannot possibly be expected to wait two years or more for the first disability payment. In response to this issue, the Social Security Administration rolled out the Compassionate Allowances program.
When the program began in 2008, there were 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers that would qualify an individual for Social Security Disability payments in as little as 28 days. In 2010, an additional 38 conditions were added to the Compassionate Allowances list. Now, in 2011, twelve more conditions will be added to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, and many of these involve heart disease.
Every year thousands of hard-working American taxpayers become disabled due to heart disease and heart-related complications. However, as severe as heart disease can be, these individuals often have to struggle in order to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. Fortunately, these struggles may be over for many of these applicants, as the SSA has included many heart-related illnesses in the Compassionate Allowances listings.
In February of this year, the SSA held a public hearing to address the issue of cardiovascular disease. During this hearing, public officials and health experts met to discuss how certain cardiovascular conditions might be added to the Compassionate Allowances list. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States. Many of the conditions that are related to heart disease are severe in nature and warrant immediate attention when a claim is filed with the Social Security Administration. The process of obtaining Social Security Disability benefits as a result of these conditions has been anything but acceptable for a number of the individuals suffering from heart disease.
This hearing was a promising sign, although it was not a guarantee that the condition or any related conditions would be added to the Compassionate Allowances listings since more steps had to be taken to get heart disease into the Compassionate Allowances program. Because some forms of heart disease are much more severe than others, there were kinks that needed to be worked out before the condition could be included. On July 14th, however, the Social Security Administration made the announcement – 12 more conditions would be added to the Compassionate Allowances Listings, many of which would have to do with heart-related illnesses.
The heart-related illnesses that now qualify under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Listings include aortic atresia, left ventricular assist device (LVAD) recipients, Eisenmenger Syndrome, mitral valve atresia, endomyocardial fibrosis, primary cardiac amyloidosis, heart transplant graft failure, pulmonary atresia, heart transplant wait list 1A/1B patients, single ventricle, hypoplastic left heart syndrome and tricuspid atresia. Individuals suffering from these illnesses are automatically considered to be disabled under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines and may begin receiving disability benefits in just a few weeks, eliminating the headache of a complex and frustrating disability claim and appeal process.