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More conditions put on fast track for disability benefit approval

Receiving approval for Social Security disability benefits can be a long, frustrating process. When a person is simply trying to gain access to medical care for a debilitating condition, waiting an excessive amount of time for necessary financial support can be frustrating.

Readers in Tennessee may be pleased to know that officials from the Social Security Administration have announced another expansion of the compassionate allowances program. Under this effort, disability claims for specific conditions receive expedited approvals.

Carolyn Colvin, acting SSA commissioner, noted that it takes an average of 15 days for benefit approval for conditions covered by this program. On the other hand, Colvin noted that it takes more than 86 days on average for SSD approval through the standard process.

As a result of the most recent announcement, 25 more conditions will be considered for expedited approval. Most notably, perhaps, is the addition of late-stage prostate cancer to the list of compassionate allowances. A CBS news report indicates that one in six men will deal with prostate cancer at some point, so this is a change that could reach a very large number of people.

One of the main proponents of adding prostate cancer to the list of fast-tracked conditions, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, said that the change could make a world of difference for many people. For those who had spent months -- or even years -- waiting for benefit approval, health care may also become more readily available. With that said, gaining access to medical care sooner could have a dramatic effect on the outcome of cancer treatment.

Of course, the compassionate allowances program provides relief for more than just prostate cancer patients. With that said, it's still critical that the appropriate information is provided to the SSA in order to receive timely benefit approval.

Source: CBS Baltimore, "Stage 4 Prostate Cancer Among 25 Conditions Now Covered By Social Security," Mary Bubala, Jan. 20, 2014

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