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There are hundreds of illnesses and disorders, as well as certain medical and personal circumstances, that may qualify you for expedited processing of a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). There are also procedures for fast-tracking applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a benefit program for low-income people who are disabled, blind, or 65 and older that is administered (but not funded) by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program maintains a list of conditions — numbering 266 as of December 2022 — that can shorten the processing time for SSDI claims from months to a matter of days. (This still may not result in immediate payments upon approval.) The roster includes fast-moving cancers, immune-system and neurodegenerative diseases, rare genetic disorders and other illnesses that by definition meet Social Security’s standard for disability: They prevent sufferers from working or are likely to result in death.
You do not have to apply specially for a compassionate allowance (or for any form of expedited review). Social Security uses a software system to identify applications that cite impairments on the CAL list. Whether you qualify for a quick decision depends on your diagnosis and its severity. More than 800,000 people have received accelerated approval through the program, according to the SSA.
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Social Security uses another electronic system, Quick Disability Determination (QDD), to screen applications for disability benefits or SSI that are filed online. QDD scans for key words and phrases that indicate a claim is highly likely to be approved, and it checks that the application includes all required documentation. These cases are marked for quicker processing. Applications that are not filed electronically are reviewed by claims examiners, who can also flag them for fast-track status.
Social Security has several other programs and procedures to speed up particular disability claims: