Applying for SSDI benefits can be a long process. For individuals with disabling medical conditions, this can be incredibly frustrating and financially stressful. For those with life-threatening medical diagnoses, however, the waiting can feel like a nightmare. It can seem—in a very real way—like you’re racing the clock to receive benefits at all.

In 2012, the Social Security Administration developed the compassionate allowance program. This program creates an expedited approval process for qualified medical conditions. To qualify for this program, you must meet two requirements. Your medical condition must be on the compassionate allowance list, and you must also be able to prove that you have an advanced diagnosis at the time of your application. If you meet these requirements, you may be eligible for expedited approval.

Some of the conditions on the compassionate allowance list include: 

  • Acute leukemia
  • Adrenal cancer
  • ALS
  • Inoperable breast cancer
  • Early onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • and many others

Although an expedited approval might seem encouraging, it will still take five months from onset of your disability for SSDI benefits to initiate. However, a social security benefit approval can help you in the meantime in that it allows you to qualify for other benefits. That’s why it’s crucial to apply for benefits as soon as possible, in order to get the financial benefits you need.

If, on the off chance, there is a problem with your application, knowing the outcome sooner rather than later also works in your favor. If your claim is denied, you can pursue an appeal—the next step in the process.