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Social Security Q&A

Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances Speed Disability Decision for Desperate Americans

Switching between government non-Social Security employment and that covered by Social Security gets complicated

March 8, 2014 – Many of us who depend on Social Security for helping fund our retirement may forget it also plays a critical role for U.S. citizens who become disabled and are forced into retiring before they are old enough to collect normal benefits. The Social Security Q&A this week answers a question from someone desperate for this help. The column also addresses a frequent concern of those who switch back and forth in work situations not always contributing to Social Security – it gets complicated.


My husband was recently diagnosed with cancer. We are completing his disability application at this time, but we are discouraged with how long it takes to find out if he qualifies. Does Social Security make any special consideration based on the illness?


Yes. To help expedite the disability process, we recently announced the addition of 25 new Compassionate Allowances conditions. These new conditions include twelve cancers, such as prostate cancer, as well as disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, immune, and multiple body systems.


Related Archived Stories


What is Proper Retirement Portfolio? Social Security Has Tips and Links to Help

Q&A also has details on getting SSA number for child adopted from another country

Jan. 27, 2014

Are Social Security Benefits Taxable? Here is the Bad News from Social Security

Small business owners should know SSA has services online to help complete W-2s

Feb. 6, 2014

Social Security Advised to Return to Mailing Paper Statement by Advisory Board

MySSA online is commendable but advisory board still has three big concerns

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Jan. 23, 2014

How Much is Social Security Benefit Reduced if You Keep Earning Income: SSA Q&A Has Details

Also, Many may be unaware of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for the disabled

Jan. 23, 2014

Does Early Retirement Mean Benefits Reduced Forever; Wife Gets No Credit from Family Business

Many seniors may be surprised by these questions and the answers; things you need to know about Social Security

Jan. 15, 2014

New Compassionate Allowance Conditions Added by Social Security for SSI, SSDI Programs

May make many low income seniors eligible for additional benefits

Jan. 16, 2014

Read more Social Security News

also check Medicare and Senior Politics


The Compassionate Allowances program expedites disability decisions for Americans with the most serious disabilities to ensure that they receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can identify potential Compassionate Allowances and quickly make decisions.

To date, we have approved almost 200,000 people with severe disabilities through this fast-track disability process. 

“We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program,” Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said recently.

“Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.” 

In addition to cash benefits, beneficiaries obtain Medicare coverage after 24 months, a vital element in preserving an individual’s health. Learn more about disability benefits at For more information on the Compassionate Allowances program, including a list of all qualifying conditions, please visit


I earned Social Security credits before I started working in a non-Social Security paying government career. I have returned to work in the private sector since my government retirement in 2010, and I pay into Social Security. Will Social Security count my early credits along with the ones I am currently earning?


Yes, your previous credits will count with the ones that you have earned since you retired in 2010.  If you complete your 40 credits, you will receive a Social Security retirement benefit, but it will be figured using a modified formula.

This reduction is applied to your Social Security retirement because you did not pay into Social Security through your government employment. This law is known as the Windfall Elimination Provision.

Another issue is how your government pension will affect any benefits you can receive on your spouse's record. This law is called the Government Pension Offset. It may not permit you to receive any benefits on your spouse's record.  This is because an amount equal to two-thirds of your monthly government retirement is counted against any benefit you can receive as a spouse.

Sometimes this two-thirds offset is greater than what you can receive as a spouse. When that happens, the benefit is not payable. This increases the importance of earning your 40 credits. You can read more about these laws at

Oscar Garcia is a Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration. You can direct your questions to him at: SSA, 411 Richland Hills Drive, San Antonio, Texas, 78245. You can also email him at

Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

Janicek Law Firm, PC

Free Consultation

(Call toll free)

1-877-795-3425 or Email

Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)


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