CAL Program and Disability Benefits

CAL Program and Disability Benefits

One of the major issues for individuals applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) is the time it takes to go through the application process. For certain individuals, the application may be expedited if the applicant has an impairment that qualifies as a Compassionate Allowance (CAL).

CAL Program

The CAL program is a way to identify diseases and other conditions that invariably qualify as a disabling impairment under the SSA Listing of Impairments. A person applying for disability benefits under CAL, whether through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), can qualify based on minimal objective information. The program targets and benefits the most obviously disabled individuals.

An applicant does not need to do anything differently to benefit from the CAL program. Rather, the individual applies using the normal procedure for applying for benefits for SSDI or SSI. Upon recognition that an individual has a CAL condition, the SSA expedites the application process. As a result, the process may take as little as a few weeks, rather than the potential of months or years for non-CAL condition applications.

The amount of time before approval or denial of benefits varies depending on:

  1. How quickly the SSA is able to obtain medical evidence from the applicant’s doctor or other medical providers
  2. Whether a medical examination is necessary to collect evidence in support of the claim
  3. Whether the claim is randomly selected for quality assurance review of the decision

Further expediting the process and benefiting CAL condition applicants is reduced paperwork associated with the application. The work and education history questions are not part of the application. These have been removed from the application because the severity of the conditions related to these applications often makes this information unnecessary.

Process for Adding CAL

The SSA to the CAL list adds new conditions annually. In making these additions, the SSA uses information from public outreach hearings, comments from Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, counsel of medical and scientific experts, and the SSA’s own research in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, consideration is given to conditions that are the most likely to meet the current definition of disability for SSA purposes. Under the SSA, disability is considered the inability the perform work due to an impairment that has or is expected to last one year or result in death.

To date, the following public outreach hearings have been held:

  1. Rare diseases
  2. Cancers
  3. Traumatic brain injury and stroke
  4. Early onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias
  5. Schizophrenia
  6. Cardiovascular disease and multiple organ transplants
  7. Autoimmune diseases

Securing Needed Benefits

At the Klok Law Firm LLC, we understand that obtaining disability benefits as quickly as possible is of paramount importance to you. Contact us today if you would like more information about how we can help you through the application process. We have experience representing individuals throughout the Charleston area and look forward to hearing from you.