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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Social Security Adds New Conditions to Fast Track Disabilitty Approval Process

In July, the Social Security Administration announced that its new "Compassionate Allowances Conditions Fast Track Disability Process" will expand to include 100 Conditions.   Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue, announced 12 additional Compassionate Allowances conditions involving severe heart diseases, bringing the total number of conditions in the expedited disability process to 100.

Compassionate Allowances are a way to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet Social Security’s standards for disability benefits. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. “We have reached a significant milestone for the Compassionate Allowances program,” Commissioner Astrue said. “We have an obligation to award benefits quickly to people whose medical conditions are so serious they clearly meet our disability standards. We are now able to do precisely that for 100 severe conditions.”

The Compassionate Allowances initiative is one of two parts of the agency’s fast-track system for certain disability claims. When combined with the Quick Disability Determination process, Social Security last year approved more than 100,000 cases, usually in less than two weeks. This year, the agency expects to fast-track nearly 150,000 cases. Social Security has held seven public hearings and worked with experts to develop the list of Compassionate Allowances conditions. The hearings also have helped the agency identify additional ways to improve the disability process for applicants with Compassionate Allowances conditions. “By definition, these illnesses are so severe that we don’t need to fully develop the applicant’s work history to make a decision,” said Commissioner Astrue. As a result, beginning in August, Social Security is eliminating this part of the application process for people who have a condition on the list.  For more information on the Compassionate Allowances initiative, see

For assistance with your Social Security Disability or SSI claim, call Clearwater / Tampa Disability Lawyer John V. Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Could Proposed Pentagon Plan to Start Military Retirement At Normal Retirement Age Impact VA Disability Claims?

CBS News is reporting that a Pentagon study is suggesting that one budgetary fix that may help ease deficits is to move the starting date for military retirement pension payments back to normal retirement age.  The report on CBS' webpage states, the "plan, laid out in a 24-page presentation "Modernizing the Military Retirement System," would eliminate the familiar system under which anyone who serves 20 years is eligible for retirement at half their salary. Instead, they'd get a 401k-style plan with government contributions."

I have not had the chance to review the Pentagon report yet.  However, I wonder if they considered the impact on VA disability claims if they implement this suggested system.  It seems likely that more long-term service members would be sure to report their service-connected medical conditions before they left service in an effort to collect VA service-connected compensation in the absence of their pension.  Just wondering...

Copyright (c) 2010, 2011 by John V. Tucker and Tucker & Ludin, P.A. All rights reserved. For assistance with your Long Term Disability claim, ERISA Disability benefit claim, Social Security Disability claim, or Veterans Disability compensation or pension claim, call Tampa, Florida Disability Lawyer John Tucker at (866) 282-5260.

Legal Guides From John Tucker on Selected Disability Topics