Uncommon Conditions That Can Qualify You for Disability Benefits

Everyone knows that health problems like cancer, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease are widespread and serious conditions.  Issues like these will claim millions of lives every year, and on an annual basis, they will also qualify millions of survivors for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration.  But what about less common diseases and disorders?  For people living with rare and under-publicized health issues, finding information about disability benefits can be a frustrating challenge.  To help set you on the path toward an SSA approval, our New Jersey disability lawyers have assembled this blog post about some uncommon conditions that can qualify you for disability benefits in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

Doctor examining a lung radiography

Compassionate Allowances, NORD, and Rare Diseases

In order to qualify for disability benefits, the most basic requirement is that your disability is included in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments.  While the Listing of Impairments is fairly extensive, it only covers health conditions which are relatively common, and which the SSA therefore has reason to expect. The Listing does cover numerous conditions — but it hardly makes a dent in the 6,800 rare conditions recognized by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).

NORD classifies a “rare disorder” as one which afflicts fewer than 200,000 Americans.  (If 200,000 sounds like a large number, remember that it’s only 0.06% of the U.S. population.)  For practical purposes, the SSA does not list its provisions for a condition which affects a maximum of six hundredths of a percent of the country.

However, that doesn’t mean that no provisions exist.

The disability benefits program has a component called Compassionate Allowances.  In a nutshell, Compassionate Allowances are used to fast-track individuals “whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards.”

But Compassionate Allowances also extend to numerous rare diseases which, if not for their CAD (Compassionate Allowance Disability) classification, would result in catastrophic delays and obstacles due to sheer unfamiliarity.  NORD continues to work with the SSA to expand the list of rare conditions which are covered as CADs.   “This truly innovative program,” says NORD President and CEO Peter L. Saltonstall, “will provide invaluable assistance and support to patients and families coping with severely disabling rare diseases.”


Rare Diseases Covered by Compassionate Allowances

The SSA’s list of CADs is always growing.  At the time of this writing, these are just some of the rare diseases and disorders which are covered for disability benefits by Compassionate Allowances:

  • Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome
  • Alpers Disease
  • Alstrom Syndrome
  • Batten Disease
  • Canavan Disease
  • Cruetzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Cri du Chat Syndrome
  • Dravet Syndrome
  • Fatal Familial Insomnia
  • Fryns Syndrome
  • I-Cell Disease
  • Kufs Disease
  • Leigh’s Disease
  • Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome
  • Menkes Disease
  • Niemann-Pick Disease
  • Patau Syndrome
  • Perry Syndrome
  • Roberts Syndrome
  • Sandhoff Disease
  • Stiff Person Syndrome
  • Wolman Disease
  • Zellweger Syndrome

A complete list of conditions covered by compassionate allowances, including rare conditions, is available for viewing here.

If you need a disability attorney in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates online to schedule a free, confidential case evaluation.  You can also call (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania. 


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