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Medical conditions which are so severe that you should be paid SSDI and SSI benefits are called Compassionate Allowances. If you have one of these severe medical conditions, then the SSA believes you should automatically qualify for benefits.

The Compassionate Allowances program identifies claims that meet Social Security’s statutory standard for disability. If you have medical confirmation of your diagnosis, you should submit it along with your application to qualify for this program

Currently, more than 600,000 people have been approved through Compassionate Allowance program. Over the last decade, the list has grown to a total of 242 conditions, including some cancers, brain disorders, and rare disorders that affect children.

It is possible for the SSA to not realize that your diagnosis is on the list of Compassionate Allowances. Therefore, it is important for you to review the entire list below:

Please review the whole list, not just the new additions, especially if your doctor states that your medical condition qualifies you for disability benefits.

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The point of the list is to expedite the claims process. Most claims take up to two years to win. However, because there is a list of severe disabilities, if you show your disability is on the list, you case win benefits quickly.

As Andrew Saul states, “Social Security’s top priority is to serve the public, and we remain committed to improving the disability determination process for Americans.” Mr. Saul also said, “Our Compassionate Allowances program gets us one step closer to reaching our goals by helping us accelerate the disability process for people who are likely to get approved for benefits due to the severity of their condition.”

In fact, you and your doctor can add to the list of Compassionate Allowances. If you have a severe, disabling medical condition, you can submit your condition to the SSA for inclusion on the list at the SSA’s website. SSA receives information from the public. They also evaluate comments from the Social Security and Disability Determination Service communities. Additionally, they review information from medical and scientific experts and review research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma (AITL)

Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma (AITL) is a rare and highly aggressive cancer of the lymphatic system. AITL spreads throughout the body by converting T-cell lymphocytes into malignant cells.

AITL is unique among non-Hodgkin lymphomas for its disabling effect on the immune system. Because, the symptoms that arise from the dysfunctional immune response are often more severe than those caused by the tumor itself.

The cause of AITL is poorly understood. Although doctors believe there appears to be a correlation with Epstein-Barr virus infection. Many patients with AITL will achieve remission with the initial course of treatment, but most will relapse. Median survival is 2-3 years from initial diagnosis.

Bone marrow transplant has shown to lead to more positive outcomes in patients with AITL than standard radiation and chemotherapy. Corticosteroids are used to control symptoms related to immune dysfunction. AITL equals Social Security listing 13.05 D for Mantle cell lymphoma, even when bone marrow transplant surgery is performed.

Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm (BPDCN)

Blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN),previously known as natural killer cell leukemia/lymphoma, is a rare, aggressive malignancy that most commonly shows itself as cutaneous lesions with or without bone marrow involvement and leukemic dissemination.

Common misdiagnoses for BPDCN include non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), leukemia cutis, melanoma, and lupus erythematosus.

The skin is usually the most involved site of disease. However, most of the time BPDCN progresses with bone marrow involvement and a decrease in red blood cell, white blood cell and platelet counts. You can have issues with your lymph nodes and spleen. Also, you can have a rash without symptoms.

Due to the high rates of recurrence following initial therapy and the short overall survival times of individuals with BPDCN, prognosis of the disease is poor. The average age at diagnosis is 60 to 70 years.

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease (GSS)

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker Disease (GSS) is an extremely rare neurodegenerative brain disorder. GSS is inherited.  It occurs in only a few families around the world. The onset of the disease usually occurs between the ages of 35 and 50. There are fewer than 100 cases.

GSS is caused by mutations in the PRNP gene. PRNP encodes a protein called prion protein. Although no one knowns the exact function of this protein, it appears to play an important role in the human brain. In people with GSS, mutations in the PRNP gene typically result in the production of an abnormally shaped prion protein. The abnormal protein builds up in the brain, forming clumps that damage or destroy nerve cells. This loss of brain cells leads to the signs and symptoms of GSS.

The signs and symptoms of GSS are progressive ataxia, including clumsiness, unsteadiness, and difficulty walking. Also, there is cognitive dysfunction leading to slowness of thought processing and dementia of varying degrees. There is currently no cure for the condition and no known treatments to slow its progression. If you have GSS, you meet listing 11.17.

Microvillus Inclusion Disease – Child (MVID)

Microvillus Inclusion Disease (MVID) is a rare congenital intestinal disorder that affects newborns. MVID manifests in the first hours or days of life with chronic watery diarrhea that gets worse with food intake, causing malnutrition and dehydration.

MVID is caused by a mutation in the Myo5b gene and is inherited. The Myo5b gene regulates proteins in the epithelial lining of the intestines. In infants with MVID, this gene does not function. As a result, intestinal microvilli, structures which aid in the absorption of nutrients, are deformed or entirely absent.

Doctors use an intestinal tissue sample or genetic testing to confirm MVID. Other conditions such as lactose intolerance and familial chloride diarrhea must be ruled out before performing a biopsy.

MVID leads to developmental delay, failure to thrive, irreversible damage to the liver and kidneys, and often results in death in infancy. Most children with MVID do not survive past early childhood. There is no cure.

Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (MWS)

Mowat-Wilson Syndrome (MWS) is a rare genetic disorder that affects several organs and body systems. The main symptoms of MWS include severe intellectual impairment, microcephaly, seizures, heart defects, and distinctive facial features. Almost half of all MWS cases co-occurs with Hirschsprung Disease, a condition in which the intestines fail to develop properly.

MWS is caused by defects in the ZEB2 gene. That gene is critical to the development of the nervous system, heart, and other organs and tissues. Symptoms of MWS may present at any time from birth through early adolescence. Early death is common, but some people with MWS have survived into early adulthood. There is no cure for MWS. However, doctors often perform surgery to improve function of the heart and intestines.

Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Excess Blasts (MDS-EB)

Myelodysplastic Syndrome with Excess Blasts (MDS-EB) is a rare type of myelodysplastic syndrome. In this MDS-EB, the number of very early forms of blood cells (blasts) increase in the bone marrow and blood. There is also a low number of at least one type of blood cell. The early forms of cell types in the bone marrow may or may not look abnormal under the microscope.

MDS-EB has a high likelihood of turning into acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It is classified into two types, based on how many of the cells in the bone marrow or blood are blasts: MDS-EB1: Blasts make up 5% to 9% of the cells in the bone marrow, or 2% to 4% of the cells in the blood. And, MDS-EB2: Blasts make up 10% to 19% of the cells in the bone marrow, or 5% to 19% of the cells in the blood. The second type has a higher risk of becoming AML.

Some cases of MDS-EB have known risk factors. These factors are smoking, chemotherapy, and having a genetic syndrome. These factors lead to changes in the DNA in bone marrow cells which may cause MDS-EB to develop. However, most often, the cause of the condition is unknown.

MDS affects males slightly more often than females. The condition occurs in all age groups, but is far more common in older adults. It occurs most often in people who over 60 years of age. According to one estimate, 22 to 45 per 100,000 people over the age of 70 years have MDS. Approximately 20,000 new patients are diagnosed each year in the United States.

Nut Carcinoma

NUT Carcinoma, formerly known as NUT Midline Carcinoma, is a rare type of cancer that forms in the respiratory tract and other places along the middle of the body, from the head to the abdomen. This includes the thymus, the area between the lungs, and the pancreas, liver, and bladder.

NUT Carcinoma occurs when a piece of chromosome 15 containing the NUT gene breaks off and attaches to another chromosome. It is usually a fast-growing cancer for which there is no cure. NUT Carcinoma is caused by a fusion of the BRD4, BRD3, NSD3, or other genes. This gene fusion makes the abnormal uncontrolled squamous cell grow.

NUT Carcinoma is a rare and aggressive tumor that occurs in children and young adults. NUT Carcinoma arises from many organs, mainly midline organs such as the head, neck, and thorax. Unfortunately, it usually has widespread metastases by the time of diagnosis. Most patients have advanced stages of the disease and progress rapidly to death. The average length of survival is approximately 10 months. The 2-year survival rate is 30%.

NUT Carcinoma is very resistant to standard chemotherapy treatments. The tumor may initially respond to therapy, but it comes back rapidly. A multimodal approach to treatment is used since most patients present with advanced disease. If the cancer is localized and not yet metastasized, surgical resection may be curative.

Pfeiffer Syndrome – Types II and III

Pfeiffer Syndrome is a rare genetic condition of early childhood in which the bones, primarily in the skull, fuse prematurely.

There are three subtypes of Pfeiffer Syndrome. In Types II and III, fusion of skull bones prevents normal brain growth. This results in severe intellectual and neurological impairment. Pfeiffer Syndrome Type I is milder and usually does not affect intellectual development or lifespan of the child.

Symptoms of Pfeiffer Syndrome Types II and III include: elongated skull structure; tri-lobed “cloverleaf” shaped skull (Type II only); facial asymmetry; high, broad forehead; bulging eyes; beak-shaped nose; low-set ears; underdeveloped jaw; broad thumbs; and joint immobility.

Surgery as an infant, done to correct the shape of the skull, along with physical therapy, can improve the outcomes and quality of life. However, all children with Pfeiffer Syndrome Types II and III require lifelong treatment and assistance with activities of daily living.

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia

Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia (PCH) is a group of related conditions that affect the development of the brain. The term “pontocerebellar” refers to the pons and the cerebellum, which are the brain structures that are damaged in many forms of this condition. The pons is at the base of the brain in the brainstem. The pons sends signals between the cerebellum and the rest of the brain. The cerebellum, which is located at the back of the brain, coordinates movement. The term “hypoplasia” refers to the underdevelopment of these brain regions.

PCH also causes impaired growth of other parts of the brain. This leads to small head size. This small head size is usually not apparent at birth but becomes noticeable as brain growth continues to be slow in infancy and early childhood.

Researchers have described at least ten types of pontocerebellar hypoplasia. All forms of this condition have impaired brain development, delayed development overall, problems with movement, and intellectual disability. The brain abnormalities are usually present at birth. In some cases, they are present before birth. Many children with pontocerebellar hypoplasia live only into infancy or childhood. Although some people with PCH live into adulthood.

The prevalence of pontocerebellar hypoplasia is unknown, although most forms of the disorder appear to be very rare. There is no cure.

Posterior Cortical Atrophy

Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA) is a rare neurologic disease characterized by impairment of higher visual processing skills and other posterior cortical functions without any evidence of ocular abnormalities, relatively intact memory and language in the early stages.

PCA causes atrophy of the posterior part of the cerebral cortex, resulting in the progressive disruption of complex visual processing. This rare form of dementia is a visual variant or an atypical type of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The cause of PCA is unknown. And, there is also not a list of diagnostic criteria for the disease. This is partially due to the gradual onset of PCA symptoms, their variety, the rare nature of the disease, and the younger age of onset.

There is no known treatment for PCA. This may be due to how rare the disease is. However, antidepressant drugs have some positive effects on the condition. Other treatments include occupational therapy and help adapting to visual change. If you need more information about brain cancers, then read here.

Renal Amyloidosis – AL Type

Amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when the body deposits amyloid proteins in tissues and organs. Amyloid proteins are abnormal proteins that the body cannot break down and recycle, as it does with normal proteins. When amyloid proteins clump together, they form amyloid deposits. The buildup of these deposits damages your organs and tissues. Primary amyloidosis most commonly effects the kidneys.

In Renal Amyloidosis, amyloid deposits damage the kidneys and make it harder for them to filter wastes and break down proteins. When the kidneys become too damaged, they may no longer be able to function well enough to maintain health. This results in kidney failure. Kidney failure can lead to problems such as high blood pressure, bone disease, and anemia.

Amyloidosis that affects the kidneys leads to life-threatening kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. AL-Amyloidosis has very poor prognosis with most patients dying in 2-3 years after diagnosis.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma is a rare cell type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure. This condition is a mixed disease with both sarcomatous and epithelial elements. Doctors recognize sarcomatoid cells by their oval or spindle shape.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma occurs in multiple organ settings, including the uterus, kidneys, lungs, and peritoneum. It accounts for between 10 and 20 percent of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

Diagnosis of Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma is difficult because patients present with symptoms that are the same as other more common illnesses. Most patients begin the process of diagnosis when they seek medical help for shortness of breath or chest pain.

Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma forms in separate nodes or lesions and can metastasize, or spread, quickly to distant organs. Sarcomatoid carcinomas of the lung have poor prognosis and are aggressive cancers.

There is no standard treatment for Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma. The type of treatment depends on the stage and location of the cancer, and the overall health of the patient. Treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Doctors will perform surgery to treat patients that present with the disease in just a few places within the body.


The monthly SSDI amount is different for everyone. However, the average SSDI monthly payment in 2022 is around $1,358. Some people may receive more than that amount, because they earned more money. About one in 10 people who receive Social Security benefits get more than $2,000 per month. People with spouses and children also receive more money. The SSA also pays SSDI benefits to those with a spouse and children. A person with a spouse and children can expect an average monthly payment of around $2,383 in SSDI benefits.

If your medical condition is so severe that you cannot work, then you should file for SSDI benefits. The amount of money you receive will depend upon the amount of money you have earned during your working years. Find out about whether your social security benefits will increase here. You can apply for your SSDI benefit online at the Social Security’s website. Or, you can contact us and we will help you file your application for benefits.

After you win benefits, the SSA may require you to have a payee who handles your monthly benefits. If you need more information about a representative payee for your benefits, read here.


Unfortunately, despite the SSA’s best efforts, even the Compassionate Allowances program cannot provide benefits immediately. Other information on compassionate allowances can be found here. Although the SSA will flag your case if you have one of the medical conditions on the list, even with the faster processing, you don’t receive benefits until a few weeks to two months go by.

This is due to several factors.  First, the SSA must flag your case as a compassionate allowance at the outset of your claim. If this doesn’t happen, there will be delays. Also, the SSA still needs to collect all of your medical records to prove that you meet their rules. Learn more about the importance of medical records here. Getting medical records takes time. Additionally, there are times that the SSA will want to confirm your medical condition by sending you to one of their doctors. These doctor visits are consultative exams. Learn more about consultative exams here.

Finally, the sheer volume of applications can delay the SSA’s decision in your claim. However, most people who have a medical condition that is a compassionate allowance do not have to wait too long for their payments to begin. Hiring an attorney at the beginning of your case will assure that your case receives the attention it deserves. Additionally, those who hire an attorney with experience have a three times better chance of winning benefits.


When you have one of the above medical conditions, you meet SSA’s rules. Therefore, the SSA should pay you SSDI and SSI benefits. If the SSA doesn’t pay, then you need an attorney to help you win. When you hire us, we will help you file your application. Also, we will help you complete SSA’s paperwork. The SSA will probably deny your case, because they deny most claims. Likewise, they deny most cases on appeal.

Typically, in order to win, you must go to a hearing. When you go to a hearing, you should not go alone. Make sure you hire an experienced attorney to help you in court. If you have a compassionate allowance, then the SSA should expedite your case. That means you would not have to go to a hearing. Instead, you would receive benefits at an earlier stage of the process.

We offer a free review of your case. Also, you only pay an attorney fee if we win your case. If we do not win your benefits, then you do not owe an attorney fee. If you have concerns about how the attorney fee works, read here. We work for free until you win.

Find out more about your legal team. Dianna Cannon has been practicing Social Security law for over 30 years. Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of cases in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, and California. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping claimants win benefits. We have won over $100 million in SSDI and SSI benefits for our clients. Contact us today to hire a disability attorney with decades of experience. We want to be your legal team for your medical conditions. Hire us with no money down to help you win benefits today.

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