Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, hosted the agency's fourth public hearing on Compassionate Allowances in July 2009. The hearing included testimony from some of the nation's leading experts on early-onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The deliberations focused on methods for identifying and implementing Compassionate Allowances for people with early-onset Alzheimer's.
"This year, through Compassionate Allowances and our Quick Disability Determination process, over 100,000 Americans with severe disabilities will be approved for Social Security disability benefits in a matter of days rather than the months and years it can sometimes take," said Commissioner Astrue. "We are now looking to add more diseases and impairments to these expedited processes. We are expanding our focus from specific rare diseases and cancers to look at subgroups of much broader conditions. Early-onset Alzheimer's disease is a rapidly progressive and debilitating disease of the brain that affects individuals between the ages of 50 and 65 and clearly deserves our consideration."
In October 2008, Social Security launched Compassionate Allowances to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants with medical conditions so severe that their conditions by definition meet Social Security's standards. Prior to the recent hearing on Alzheimer's Disease, three other Compassionate Allowance hearings were held on rare diseases, cancers, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. The Commissioner will hold the fifth public outreach hearing on schizophrenia in November 2009. To learn more, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances