Compassionate Allowance Initiative from Social Security

By Shealy McCoy

What is the Compassionate Allowance Initiative?

The Compassionate Allowance Initiative is a way to expedite the processing of Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Social Security Income disability claims for people whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s definition of disability. It is not a separate program from Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Social Security Income. Source


Am I eligible for Social Security Disability benefits using the Compassionate Allowance Initiative?

You may be able to file for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits through the Compassionate Allowance Initiative. The following may help you in your decision to pursue:

  • You must be a US Citizen
  • See if your specific diagnosis is listed in the SSA Compassionate Allowance Conditions List.
  • Review your employment history to verify that you have satisfied the required 40 quarters/10 years of needed contributions to the Social Security system.
  • If you have qualified thus far it is time to talk with your health provider.


Could I be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits without using the Compassionate Allowance Initiative?

Yes, you may be eligible but that is another article. You need to understand that Social Security Disability Insurance and SSI or Supplemental Security Income are benefits payable for total disability.

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers’ compensation, insurance, savings and investments.

Refer to the site below for information on disability.

My focus in this article is the disability application process as it pertains to the use of the Compassionate Allowance Initiative.

Check back periodically if your diagnosis is not on the current Compassionate Allowance Conditions List. Conditions are added.


Where do I begin with the disability application process using the Compassionate Allowance Initiative?

The application process begins with you. If you met the initial requirements and your condition is listed you may decide to pursue filing for benefits. If you file it is important that you work with your doctor and their staff. The doctor is not an expert in understanding the disability application process but the diagnosis and disease stage are imperative to meeting the definition of condition in the Compassionate Allowance List.

You will need to understand that having a condition on the list only provides for an expedited review by Social Security and does not guarantee approval. The application requires details of your medical condition, dates of doctor visits, surgeries, and if you are currently employed.

The application is online at


How long will it take for the application review and awarding of benefits?

 An exact time line is difficult to be given.  In my own experience it was about forty-five (45) days from application and receiving the notice of a benefit award. There is then a five (5) month waiting period until you receive the first benefit. You may track this through this site:


What is the current listing that may be important to person with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei  ?

The Compassionate Allowance Conditions list has over two hundred medical conditions. The list contains a definition for Peritoneal Mucinous Carcinomatosis. This is an advanced stage of Mucinous growth in the peritoneal cavity.

See the definition at


My Story

 I went to an emergency room with my stomach the size of a volleyball and in extreme pain in August 2011. An exploratory surgery was done as the General Surgeon was not sure what the scan was revealing.

I did ask for a second opinion but the oncologist was not certain until after a sample of the mucus in my cavity indicated a low grade cancer after my exploratory surgery. I was referred to Wake Forest where I was diagnosed with Stage IV, Peritoneal Carcinomatosis.

I had my first life saving HIPEC surgery on October 2011 and a second HIPEC surgery on October 2012. I learned of the Compassionate Allowance program through a posting on the PMP Pals site on November 2012.

I applied for the social security disability benefits on September 1, 2013 after being able to retire from my state position. I received my first benefit on February 1, 2014. I was fortunate to have a very good Social Security employee, who provided great advice.

Siocial Security Compassionate Allowance