In August 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) expanded their Compassionate Allowances List, a list that details conditions that are eligible for expedited disability benefits approval. Below, we will discuss the new additions and how this impacts individuals seeking disability benefits.


What are the new conditions added to the Compassionate Allowances list? 


Desmoplastic Small Round Cell Tumors

This is a rare, highly aggressive type of soft tissue cancer (sarcoma) that usually begins in the abdomen. It primarily affects children and young adults and is more common in males. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and more. Treatment may include chemotherapy, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC), radiation therapy, surgery, and stem cell transplantation. 


GM1 Gangliosidosis – Infantile and Juvenile Forms

This is a rare lysosomal storage disorder characterized biochemically by deficient beta-galactosidase activity and clinically by a wide range of variable neurovisceral, ophthalmological, and dysmorphic features. There are a variety of symptoms and side effects, including dementia, seizures, cardiomyopathy, and more. Treatment is symptomatic and supportive. Substrate reduction therapy is a potential approach for clinical trials in late-onset forms.

compassionate allowances


Nicolaides-Baraister Syndrome

This is a very rare condition characterized by severe intellectual disability and various physical features. NCBRS is caused by mutations in the SMARCA2 gene and is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. However, all cases of NCBRS reported to date have been sporadic, occurring in people with no family history of NCBRS. Symptoms and side effects include seizures, short stature, loss of hair, and more. Depending on the symptoms present, treatment might include medication, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, and hearing aids. 


Rubinstein-Tybai Syndrome

This is a rare genetic disorder with onset during early childhood. RTS affects multiple organ systems and is characterized by marked mental disability and physical abnormalities. RTS has profound adverse effects on intellectual development in children, and is often accompanied by memory, mood, and anxiety disorders. The average IQ for individuals with RTS is about 50. There is no specific treatment for RTS, although there are treatments for specific symptoms. 


Secondary Adenocarcinoma of the Brain

This is a brain lesion caused by the spread of cancerous cells from a malignant tumor in another organ. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells. Glandular cells are found in tissue that lines certain internal organs that make and release substances in the body. Common symptoms include impaired speech and vision, seizures, headaches, and more. Approach to treatment varies based on the site and aggressiveness of the primary tumor, but typically involves a combination of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.


How does the SSA determine which conditions are considered a compassionate allowance? 


The SSA regularly updates the list to include diseases and conditions that are most likely to meet the requirements for disability benefits. The condition must prevent an individual from working for at least one year or result in death. The SSA determines which conditions are added by looking at public comments, gathering information from medical and scientific experience, researching with the National Institutes of Health, and more. Even if your condition isn’t on the list, you can still submit a request by filling out the form here


At Disability Associates, we’re passionate about helping those with disabilities receive the benefits they require to live healthier lives. Tracey Pate has over 28 years of experience in disability law, and dedicates her time to taking the weight off client’s shoulders by simplifying the process for them. Contact us today!