What Is the Compassionate Allowances Program?

Compassionate Allowances (CAL) is a Social Security disability program that can expedite the processing of a disability application.

Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys explains the compassionate allowance program and what you need to know for your claim.

What are Social Security Compassionate Allowances?

Social Security Compassionate Allowances flags certain disability applications for expedited processing. The applications selected are highly likely to be approved based on the disability alleged. These selected applications can be processed with minimal medical and evidentiary investigation.

How Does the Social Security Compassionate Allowances Program Work?

  • Social Security has selected specific medical conditions to be included in the CAL program. These medical conditions are on an official List of Conditions.
  • These conditions are included because approval for disability is especially likely, and the medical evidence is relatively straightforward.
  • When a person applies for disability, information about their medical condition is entered into a software system. The software flags applications using keywords that indicate the person is applying based on a medical condition in the List of Conditions.
  • If the software flags a person’s application, the application is diverted for expedited review.
  • An expedited review uses the same criteria for whether a person is disabled and unable to work. However, a person whose application is flagged for the CAL program can expect a decision much faster than the typical waiting period.
  • If a CAL application is denied, the applicant may appeal. The application proceeds on an expedited basis.

What Does the Social Security CAL program do?

The Compassionate Allowance program DOES:

  • Speed up claims processing for your disability application
  • Give you an answer on your disability application months sooner than you would receive through normal processing
  • Use the same qualification standards as applications that are not flagged

The Compassionate Allowances program DOES NOT:

  • Increase your total payment amount
  • Give you additional benefits
  • Change eligibility status

What medical conditions are included in the Social Security Compassionate Allowances program?

The List of Medical Conditions included in the Social Security Compassionate Allowances program is published in the Program Operations Manual System (POMS), DI 23022-080. Common categories include certain cancers and rare diseases. There are hundreds of medical conditions included, so check the complete list.

Does a medical condition have to be terminal to be included in the List of Medical Conditions for CAL?

No. Not all the medical conditions included in the CAL List of Conditions are terminal. The standard is the clarity of approving a claim quickly and not necessarily whether the medical condition is expected to result in death.

How do you apply for Social Security Compassionate Allowances?

There is no extra box to check on an SSDI or SSA application to indicate that a claim falls under Compassionate Allowances. Rather, the application software system selects applications for the program. To have your case included, it must contain the specified language to be flagged by the software system. That means stating a medical condition that is on the List of Conditions and using the right language to detail the medical condition.

There is no way to guarantee selection for Compassionate Allowances. However, the way you prepare your application can give you the best chance to be chosen.

What is the purpose of the Social Security CAL program?

The purpose of the Social Security CAL program is to process disability applications efficiently.

SSDI and SSA applications can take a long time – five to six months is a normal amount of processing time for a claim. The CAL program aims to speed up processing by identifying cases where a decision can be made quickly.

Attorney for Compassionate Allowances Program Application

At Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys, we are attorneys who handle cases involving Compassionate Allowances. We can assist you with:

  • Determining if your case qualifies for the CAL program
  • Preparing your application to include information so that it can be flagged
  • Avoiding mistakes (e.g. spelling errors) that can lead to a good case being left out
  • Submit new allegations of a CAL condition or new evidence that may prompt your case to be expedited
  • Evaluate all the options to make a strong claim and give claims examiners the information they need to process claims effectively

The Social Security predictive model selects applications for expedited processing based solely on what the claimant alleges in their disability report. That means complete and clear information and using the right words are critical to your application being included.

Our attorneys can create a strategy for your application, based on your situation. We advocate for you in the application process, including preparing your application, submitting supporting evidence, and representing you.

How are medical conditions chosen for the CAL program?

The Social Security Administration selects medical conditions for the CAL program with the input of:

  • Public comment
  • Medical professionals
  • The disability community
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Public outreach hearings
  • SSA workers

One criticism of the CAL system is that it lacks clear guidelines for evaluating and approving conditions for inclusion. However, anyone may ask the SSA to consider including a medical condition.

What is the authority for the Social Security Compassionate Allowances program?

The Program Operations Manual System (POMS) explains and creates guidelines for the Social Security CAL program. POMS DI 11005.604 discusses Processing Compassionate Allowances in the Field Office. The stated purpose is to quickly identify diseases and conditions that qualify for disability benefits. It aims to select cases based on minimal, but sufficient, objective medical information.

Can a case be removed from CAL disability processing?

Yes. If Social Security representatives determine that a claim was improperly flagged for CAL processing, they can remove the designation. Adjudicators may add, remove, or modify CAL status.

Talk to a Lawyer for SSDI or SSI CAL Claims

Do you have a disability claim? Are you wondering how the Compassionate Allowances program may impact your claim? Would you like legal assistance?

Contact Pekas Smith Disability Attorneys. It’s our goal for everyone to receive the disability benefits that they deserve. Call or message us now to talk about your case.

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