The term “compassionate allowance” refers to the disability payments given by Social Security for certain conditions. In order to understand the term, we have to explore the concept of disability payments in the U.S. healthcare system.

What Is a Disability in This Case?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very strict definition of a disability as far as disability benefits are concerned. The rules for determining disability can be very complicated, but some individuals have such serious medical conditions that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. This means that many people we might consider disabled in some form do not qualify for disability payments. The concept of a disability payment is to provide for people who cannot work due to illness or injury. The idea is that these people should not have to suffer from poverty that is not their fault due to their inability to earn money.

Under Social Security rules, a disability has to affect a person so severely that they cannot continue to work where they worked before their disability (if applicable) and will not be able to adjust to another job. Additionally, this condition must be chronic. That means that it has to have lasted or be projected to last for at least a year or be diagnosed as terminal. There are often other programs in place to help pay for disabilities that do not fit this definition, but these are the only cases where Social Security will give disability payments.

Why Does the CAL Program Exist?

The CAL program, or compassionate allowance program, exists to get help to those who need benefits more efficiently. These conditions (physical or mental impairments) primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders and dementias, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. Some conditions are so serious that they obviously and necessarily meet the SSA’s definition of disability. This means that the SSA does not need to investigate further into your specific situation if you have one of these conditions. 

It is well-known that the application process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be long, especially for severely disabled claimants. A diagnosis of a compassionate allowance means that you qualify for disability, and the SSA primarily only needs to properly verify the diagnosis with medical information. This can often mean that people with CAL conditions who apply for disability payments from Social Security can get their claims processed much faster.

What Conditions Qualify for a Compassionate Allowance?

The full list of conditions that qualify for a compassionate allowance can be found here on the SSA site. However, one common type of condition that does qualify is particularly serious cancer. These are cancers that have recurred or are the terminal types. This includes some types of mesotheliomas, among many other kinds of cancer.

In the case of these conditions – those that are expected to be terminal – getting financial support from a variety of sources can be essential. Not only will the person who is ill be unable to work, but their family might also have to cut back on hours due to stress and wanting to spend as much time with them as possible. Disability payments that come faster due to the compassionate allowance rule are definitely something for which the family will be thankful. Medical costs are high, so these payments may be the main factor that allows the sick individual to be as comfortable as possible.

Other Options for Those With Mesothelioma

Sufferers of mesothelioma also have other options in addition to disability payments. Mesothelioma can be caused by workplace neglect, and if this is the case, legal action may be brought against the employer that caused the condition. This is not an act of selfishness, but rather a way for people who have suffered unjust harm to deal with the costs it has inflicted and to get restitution from the company that caused it. If you suffer from mesothelioma, make sure to use all of the resources available to you, including both legal action and compassionate allowance payments.

If you or a loved one has concerns that you may have been exposed to asbestos, please contact us today. At the Law Firm of Landry & Swarr we are focused exclusively asbestos related injuries including mesothelioma and lung cancer and can provide you with the guidance and counsel you need during this difficult time.