The Social Security Administration is aware that determinations for Social Security Disability benefits can take a long time and that this can present special hardships for applicants with severe disabilities. In order to deal with this issue, the SSA created two separate procedures to help fast track and process disability claims more quickly. These methods are called Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) and Compassionate Allowances (CAL). QDDs and CALs can overlap while an applicant’s case is being decided and help the SSA get Social Security Disability benefits quickly to applicants who need them most.
Quick Disability Determinations
A Quick Disability Determination (QDD) is a method used by the SSA to process Social Security Disability claims quickly. This method involves a complex, predictive computer program that analyzes certain factors in an applicant’s electronic file to determine how likely it is that the applicant will be found disabled under the SSA’s rules. This program allows the SSA to prioritize its workload and expedite its most serious applications.
The computer program is not limited by certain types of illnesses or impairments, and flags applications with physical or mental disabilities that are likely to qualify for disability benefits. If the computer program determines the necessary criteria are met, the application is then sent to a special QDD group for review. The QDD group, which is comprised of disability examiners, looks at the application and the medical evidence provided when making a decision about whether to grant the applicant disability benefits.
The QDD group has the power to make the decision without having a medical consultant look at the applicant’s file, which is what is required in the normal Social Security disability determination process. As a result of this expedited process, applicants who are chosen for a QDD and who have complete medical records can receive disability benefits as early as 20 days from the date they applied for benefits.
Even though an application is selected for a QDD, it is possible that it will be taken out of the QDD and sent back into the regular process for disability applications. This may occur if the QDD review group does not recommend the applicant’s claim for approval or does not agree with the applicant’s alleged onset date of the condition. If this occurs, the application’s review will start over at the applicant’s local Disability Determination Services office and the decision may take several months.
The Compassionate Allowance (CAL) program also provides Social Security Disability benefits quickly to applicants with serious disabling conditions, but provides a fast track only for specific conditions. This program allows the SSA to quickly target who are the most disabled applicants and allows for disability benefits to be granted to those persons very soon after they apply.
The SSA takes into account many types of information in determining which conditions should qualify for a CAL. The SSA considers whether it is clear from the initial application that the applicant would qualify for benefits using the SSA’s list of impairments. The list of impairments includes common medical conditions that are considered to be severe enough to keep an individual from working. The SSA also collects information from public outreach hearings and comments from medical and scientific experts that help it determine which conditions should qualify for a CAL. Learn more by taking a look at the SSA’s list of compassionate allowance conditions.
If an application claims that an applicant has condition that qualifies for a CAL and has the medical evidence to support those claims, the SSA will save time by granting the applicant a CAL. Once the SSA determines that an applicant’s condition should be given a CAL, the SSA will grant disability benefits to the applicant based only on the small amount of medical data provided with the application. Because the SSA makes the decision so quickly based on its list of compassionate allowance conditions, an applicant can receive disability benefits in a little as 10 days from when they first apply for benefits.
Are you applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for the first time or appealing a denial? Consider the office of Attorney Neil H. Good for your representation. Contact us online or call #(847) 577-4476