Friday, January 29, 2010
This program is a win win. SSA should continue to look at fast tracking. If adequately staffed in the field offices and implemented by properly trained personnel in the state medical agencies, such initiatives help avoid repeated applications and other logistical confusion facing claimants. Small steps, smartly taken make more sense than overwhelming plans of agency redesign.
Social Security commissioner: We can fast-track help
by Michael J. Astrue - Jan. 26, 2010 09:56 AM
Special for The Republic
I recently hosted the agency's fifth public hearing on Compassionate Allowances.
I was joined on the panel by Philip Wang, M.D., Dr.P.H., National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and Social Security Executives.
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We heard testimony from some of the nation's leading experts on schizophrenia about possible methods of identifying and implementing Compassionate Allowances for young adults with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a devastating disease that affects more than two million Americans, primarily individuals in their teens and twenties. The onset of schizophrenia has life-changing consequences, which can include unemployment and homelessness. This hearing will help us to potentially identify the most severe cases and consider bringing them under our Compassionate Allowances umbrella.
In October 2008, Social Security launched Compassionate Allowances to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants with medical conditions so severe that their conditions by definition meet Social Security's standards.
To learn more and to view a web cast of November's hearing, go to www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances.
Our Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations processes are making a real difference by ensuring that Americans with devastating disabilities quickly receive the benefits they need. This fiscal year, we expect to fast-track about 150,000 cases and we plan to add more diseases and impairments to these expedited processes in the coming months.
Michael J. Astrue is the Social Security Commissioner.