How Social Security’s ‘Compassionate Allowances’ Program Works

By April 28, 2021 No Comments

If you, your child, or your dependent are facing a serious illness, the condition and situation may qualify for Social Security’s “Compassionate Allowances” program (CAL), which fast-tracks your SSDI application and can get you on the path to quick acceptance.

The list of conditions is published here and includes a range of illnesses and diseases.

Why You Don’t Have To Apply Separately for CAL

Social Security uses a software system that identifies specific cases that are eligible for certain kinds of expediting once submitted. The electronic Quick Disability Determination (QDD) system is also used for SSDI and SSI and scans applications for keywords and phrases that indicate likely acceptance.

Other Eligibility Options

AARP notes a range of other ways Social Security can expedite your application:

  • If the claimant’s condition has reached a terminal stage, or they’re in hospice care
  • Certain non-terminal circumstances, including low birth weight
  • If your condition is deemed a “presumptive disability,” you can be paid benefits while waiting for your main application to process
  • If you’re a veteran who became disabled on active duty (with the incident occurring on or after Oct. 1, 2001)

On the note of presumptive disability, some of these conditions can include:

  • Allegation of total blindness
  • Allegation of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other coordination/movement difficulty issues

For SSI, you may also be entitled to an “Emergency Advance Payment” if you are disabled and facing an immediate financial emergency (such as insufficient resources for food, medical care, or shelter).

It’s important to note that SSDI claims are subject to a waiting period for benefits. The soonest payments can start is five full months from the date that Social Security determines the disability began, based on the medical evidence the applicant provides. Even fast-tracked applications must abide by this rule. There is no similar waiting period for SSI payments.

If you or a loved one have a condition that’s not on the list currently, but you think the SSA should add it, you can submit a request for that here.


If you’re able, consulting a qualified Social Security benefits attorney could help determine if your application is appropriate for fast-tracking through the CAL program or another expediting measure. Call the knowledgeable team at Drew Johnson, P.C. today to learn about the variety of ways you can begin earning Social Security benefits faster.