Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of the Social Security Administration, announced today that the agency is adding 38 more conditions to its list of Compassionate Allowances. The new categorizations will benefit thousands of Americans with disabilities, and include four forms of congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD) — Fukuyama CMD, merosin-deficient CMD, Ullrich CMD and Walker-Warburg syndrome — and Leigh syndrome, a form of mitochondrial myopathy.
These conditions join four diseases covered by MDA's program — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Friedreich's ataxia (FA), infantile-onset Pompe disease and type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) — that already are part of the Compassionate Allowances program.
The Compassionate Allowances list was created last year as a way to speed the disability determination process by allowing the agency to electronically target and make quick decisions for individuals with the most obvious disabilities. Being on the Compassionate Allowances list does not guarantee that the application will be approved, just that it will be processed more quickly. Applicants with any of the conditions on the list should be sure to mention Compassionate Allowances when applying for Social Security benefits.
In developing the expanded list of conditions, the Social Security Administration held public hearings and worked closely with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and other patient advocacy groups. The expansion of the Compassionate Allowances distinction to other disorders within MDA’s program is an ongoing process, and the Social Security Administration's consideration of other diseases continues.
For more information about the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances initiative, read the Quest magazine article, “Speedier Social Security Benefits for Four Muscle Diseases,” or visit the Social Security Administration at www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.
The full press release is posted on Social Security Online.