Compassionate Allowances List for Fast-Tracking Disability Claims

Compassionate allowances list

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a program to help those with serious medical issues get benefits approved significantly faster. This program, the CAL initiative, consists only of conditions that automatically meet the SSA’s definition of disability. See if your impairment falls on the compassionate allowances list for fast-tracking your disability claim below.



How Does the Compassionate Allowances List Help Speed Up Claim Reviews?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) established the compassionate allowances list (CAL initiative) in 2008. They did this in order to help Americans with severe medical conditions get approved for Social Security disability benefits faster. Anyone whose condition forces them to stop working at least one year may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. But the claims review process and five-month mandatory wait period are especially hard for people with terminal and rare conditions. For this reason, the compassionate allowances list speeds up claim reviews for people who clearly meet the SSA’s definition of “disabled.”

Do Claimants Get Paid Faster for Conditions On the Compassionate Allowances List?

The CAL program’s helped at least 500,000 people with severe medical conditions get claims approved faster. The compassionate allowances list now includes 242 different conditions. However, the SSA adds more approved CAL conditions every year. This helps ensure Americans suffering from dire medical issues receive SSD benefits as soon as possible. As much as 95% of claimants applying with a CAL condition get their claims approved in 10-14 days.

Quick approvals under the compassionate allowances list means you’ll need to submit thorough medical records. The SSA must review all supporting medical documents in order to approve your SSD claim. If the SSA denies your claim (which isn’t always for medical reasons), you then have 60 days to appeal. Unfortunately, you won’t qualify for more money each month just because your condition’s on the compassionate allowances list.

New Compassionate Allowances List Conditions Approved in 2020

The SSA added another five conditions to the fast-track CAL list in 2020. These conditions are:

  • Desmoplastic small round cell tumors
  • GM1 gangliosidosis (both infantile and juvenile forms)
  • Nicolaides-Baraitser syndrome (NCBRS)
  • Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS)
  • Secondary adenocarcinoma of the brain (also known as metastatic brain cancer)

What Conditions Are Currently On the Compassionate Allowances List?

Periodically, the SSA adds new medical conditions to its compassionate allowances list. According to the SSA, these conditions are determined using information from public outreach hearings, comments from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, counsel of medical and scientific experts as well as research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

These medical conditions all fall under the compassionate allowances list to fast-track Social Security disability claims:

CAL Conditions Starting With Letters A-F

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adrenal cancer with either distant metastases or tumors which are inoperable, unresectable or recurrent in nature
  • Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Adult-onset Huntington’s disease
  • Aicardi-Goutieres syndrome
  • Alexander disease (ALX) – both neonatal and infantile
  • Allan-Herndon-Dudley syndrome
  • Alobar holoprosencephaly
  • Alpers disease
  • Alpha-mannosidosis (both type II and III)
  • ALS/Parkinsonism dementia complex (i.e., ALS-PDC)
  • Alström syndrome
  • Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS)
  • Amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Anaplastic adrenal cancer (either with distant metastases, or with tumors that are inoperable, unresectable or recurrent)
  • Angelman syndrome
  • Angiosarcoma
  • Aortic atresia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Astrocytoma (both grade III and IV)
  • Ataxia-telangiectasia
  • Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor
  • Batten disease
  • Beta thalassemia major
  • Bilateral optic atrophy (infantile)
  • Bilateral retinoblastoma
  • Bladder cancer (with either distant, inoperable or unresectable metastases)
  • Breast cancer (with either distant, inoperable or unresectable metastases)
  • Canavan disease (CD)
  • CACH – vanishing white matter disease (both infantile and childhood-onset forms)
  • Carcinoma of unknown primary site
  • Cardiac amyloidosis (AL type)
  • Caudal regression syndrome (both types III and IV)
  • CDKL5 deficiency disorder
  • Cerebro-oculo-facio-skeletal (COFS) syndrome
  • Cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis
  • Child lymphoma as well as child lymphoblastic lymphoma
  • Child neuroblastoma (with either distant or recurrent metastases)
  • Chondrosarcoma (with multimodal therapy)
  • Chronic idiopathic intestinal pseudo-obstruction
  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) – blast phase
  • Coffin-Lowry syndrome
  • Congenital lymphedema
  • Congenital myotonic dystrophy
  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome (classic form)
  • Corticobasal degeneration
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) – adult
  • Cri-du-chat syndrome
  • Degos disease (systemic)
  • DeSanctis-Cacchione syndrome
  • Dravet syndrome
  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Edwards syndrome (i.e., Trisomy 18)
  • Eisenmenger syndrome
  • Endometrial stromal sarcoma
  • Endomyocardial fibrosis
  • Ependymoblastoma (i.e., child brain cancer)
  • Erdheim-Chester disease
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma
  • Ewing sarcoma
  • Farber’s disease (FD) – infantile
  • Fatal familial insomnia
  • Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva
  • Fibrolamellar cancer
  • Follicular dendritic cell sarcoma (either metastatic or recurrent)
  • Friedreich’s ataxia (i.e., FRDA)
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Pick’s disease – type A – adult 
  • Fryns syndrome
  • Fucosidosis (type 1)
  • Fukuyama congenital muscular dystrophy
  • Fulminant giant cell myocarditis

CAL Conditions Starting With Letters G-M

  • Galactosialidosis – early as well as late infantile types
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Gaucher disease (GD) – type 2
  • Giant axonal neuropathy
  • Glioblastoma multiforme (i.e., brain cancer)
  • Glioma (both grade III and IV)
  • Glutaric acidemia (type II)
  • Head and neck cancers (with distant metastases or which are either inoperable or unresectable)
  • Heart transplant graft failure
  • Heart transplant wait list (1A/1B)
  • Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) – familial type
  • Hepatoblastoma
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • Hepatorenal syndrome
  • Histiocytosis syndrome
  • Hoyeraal-Hreidarsson syndrome (HHS)
  • Hunter syndrome (i.e., MSP II)
  • Hurler syndrome (i.e., MPS I)
  • Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome
  • Hydranencephaly
  • Hypocomplementemic urticarial vasculitis syndrome
  • Hypophosphatasia (perinatal/lethal as well as infantile onset types)
  • Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
  • I-cell disease
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (i.e., INAD)
  • Infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses
  • Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC)
  • Intracranial hemangiopericytoma
  • ISSD, also known as infantile free sialic acid storage disease
  • Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome
  • Joubert syndrome
  • Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (lethal type)
  • Juvenile-onset Huntington’s disease
  • Kidney cancer (if it’s either inoperable or unresectable)
  • Kleefstra syndrome
  • Krabbe disease (KD) – infantile
  • Kufs disease (both Type A and B)

CAL Conditions Starting With Letters L-O

  • Large intestine cancer (with either distant metastases or which is inoperable, unresectable or recurrent in nature)
  • Late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses
  • Leigh syndrome (also known as subacute necrotizing encephalomyelopathy)
  • Leiomyosarcoma
  • Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis
  • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome (LNS)
  • Lewy body dementia (LBD)
  • Liposarcoma – either metastatic or recurrent
  • Lissencephaly
  • Liver cancer
  • Lowe syndrome (i.e., Oculocerebrorenal syndrome)
  • Lung cancer (small cell only)
  • Lymphomatoid granulomatosis (grade III)
  • Malignant brain stem gliomas (childhood)
  • MEM (i.e., malignant ectomesenchymoma)
  • Malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumor
  • Malignant germ cell tumor
  • Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
  • Maple syrup urine disease
  • Marshall-Smith syndrome
  • Mastocytosis (type IV)
  • MECP2 duplication syndrome
  • Medulloblastoma (with metastases)
  • Megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome
  • Megalencephaly capillary malformation syndrome
  • Menkes disease (either classic or infantile onset forms)
  • MERFF syndrome (i.e., myoclonic epilepsy with ragged red fibers syndrome)
  • Merkel cell carcinoma (with metastases)
  • Merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (i.e., MDC1A)
  • Metachromatic leukodystrophy (either MLD or Arylsufatase A deficiency) – late infantile
  • Mitral valve atresia
  • Mixed dementias
  • Mucosal malignant melanoma
  • Multicentric Castleman disease
  • Multiple sclerosis (must be malignant)
  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy
  • Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis
  • Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (both types 1 and 2)
  • NFU1 mitochondrial disease
  • Niemann-Pick Disease (NPD) – both types A and C
  • Nonketotic hyperglycinemia
  • Non-small cell lung cancer
  • Obliterative bronchiolitis
  • Ohtahara syndrome
  • Oligodendroglioma brain cancer (grade III)
  • Ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency
  • Orthochromatic leukodystrophy with pigmented glia
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) – type II
  • Osteosarcoma, also known as bone cancer (with distant metastases or which is inoperable or unresectable in nature)
  • Ovarian cancer (with either distant metastases or which is inoperable or unresectable in nature)

CAL Conditions Starting With Letters P-S

  • Pallister-Killian syndrome
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Paraneoplastic pemphigus
  • Patau syndrome (i.e., Trisomy 13)
  • Pearson syndrome
  • Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease (PMD) – both connatal and classic forms
  • Peripheral nerve cancer (either metastatic or recurrent)
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma
  • Peritoneal mucinous carcinomatosis
  • Perry syndrome
  • Phelan-McDermid syndrome (i.e., 22q13 syndrome)
  • Pitt-Hopkins syndrome
  • Pleural mesothelioma
  • Pompe disease (infantile)
  • Primary central nervous system lymphoma or effusion lymphoma
  • Primary peritoneal cancer
  • PPA, also known as primary progressive aphasia
  • Progressive bulbar palsy
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)
  • Prostate cancer – either with hormone refractory disease or visceral metastases
  • Pulmonary atresia
  • Pulmonary Kaposi’s sarcoma
  • Renal rhabdoid tumor (malignant only)
  • Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) – stage V
  • Rett (RTT) syndrome
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS)
  • Rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata
  • Richter syndrome
  • Roberts syndrome
  • Salivary cancers
  • Sandhoff disease (i.e., Sandhoff-Jatzkewitz disease)
  • Sanfilippo syndrome (i.e., MPS III)
  • Schindler disease (type 1)
  • Seckel syndrome
  • Severe combined immunodeficiency (childhood)
  • Single ventricle heart defect
  • Sinonasal cancer
  • Sjogren-Larsson syndrome
  • Skin malignant melanoma with metastases
  • Small cell cancer (i.e., female genital tract, large intestine, prostate or thymus)
  • Small intestine cancer (either with distant metastases or which is inoperable, unresectable or recurrent in nature)
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
  • Soft tissue sarcoma – with either distant metastases or recurrent
  • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) – both types 0 and 1
  • Spinal nerve root cancer (either metastatic or recurrent)
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
  • Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome (i.e., progressive supranuclear palsy)
  • Stiff person syndrome (SPS)
  • Stomach cancer (with either distant metastases or which is inoperable, unresectable or recurrent in nature)
  • Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)
  • Superficial siderosis of the central nervous system

CAL Conditions Starting With Letters P-S

  • Tabes dorsalis
  • Tay-Sachs disease (infantile type)
  • Tetrasomy 18p
  • Thanatophoric dysplasia (type 1)
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Transplant coronary artery vasculopathy
  • Tricuspid atresia
  • Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy
  • Ureter cancer (with either distant metastases or which is inoperable, unresectable or recurrent in nature)
  • Usher syndrome (type I)
  • Ventricular assist device recipient (either left, right, or biventricular)
  • Walker Warburg syndrome (WWS)
  • Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS)
  • Wolman disease
  • X-linked lymphoproliferative disease
  • X-linked myotubular myopathy
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP)
  • Zellweger syndrome (i.e., cerebrohepatorenal syndrome)

How to File Your Claim Under the Compassionate Allowances List Initiative

File your claim the way you normally would for disability benefits. However, make sure to note your eligibility for fast-tracking under the compassionate allowances list on your application. Claim-processing software will automatically flag your application for fast-tracking through the SSA’s review process. Once your claim’s approved, you’ll start receiving SSDI payments in as little as two weeks.

It’s important to make sure you’re adequately prepared before you apply, however. First, gather all medical evidence proving your disability limits you from working full-time. Your evidence must clearly show – without further medical testing – that your condition’s very serious. Your impairment must also last at least one year or expected to result in death to qualify for SSD benefits. All conditions on the compassionate allowances list should qualify, but you still need to prove your diagnosis exists.

When To Apply for Disability Benefits If You Have a Condition On the CAL List

Of course, the best time to file your claim under the CAL initiative is right after your diagnosis. Your doctors should send your medical records to the SSA as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the SSA won’t notify you when your application’s fast-tracked under this particular program. However, you’ll receive a letter in the mail explaining whether your claim is approved or denied after they review it. If your claim doesn’t include any compassionate allowances list conditions, then the review process takes about 3-5 months.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

Not sure which medical records can help fast-track your disability claim? A lawyer can give you free advice that applies to your specific situation over the phone. You’ll also pay nothing now for help filing your claim under the compassionate allowances list fast-track. In fact, having a lawyer file your application makes you 2x more likely to get approved for benefits on your very first try.

Not sure either where or how to find a qualified disability lawyer to help you? Social Security attorneys always work on contingency. They won’t take on your case unless they believe you qualify for SSD benefits. In addition, that means you owe $0 for legal assistance unless the SSA awards you benefits. And if you win, then you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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