Please note that this is not a way for non-terminal cases to get approved quicker or to speed up cases. Your case will get pulled, Social Security will notice that you are not terminally ill and your case will get thrown back with the other cases. It will continue along as planned except it was slowed down by the detour and now Social Security is annoyed with you. Plus, your file now looks like you're trying to cheat the system and you really don't want that. In addition, you just took valuable resources away from terminally ill people.
If you have already applied for benefits and you are further along in the Social Security process and if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you need to call Social Security right away. If you are waiting for a hearing, you need to call the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Social Security may not pay you all the way back to the date of your initial disability, but the new information changes your case substantially and you should have a decision shortly. If you are waiting for a hearing, the hearing office will likely bump your hearing up. If you have had a hearing and are waiting for a decision, call the hearing office immediately because it may also change your result. Of course if you have an attorney, your attorney can handle all of this for you.
Unfortunately, these cases still have to wait two years and six months from the date of disability to get approved for Medicare benefits. SSI benefits will start from the date of the application but SSDI benefits begin starting the sixth month after the date of disability. Having a terminal illness does not change that.
We also have what we call compassionate allowances. I know I have said in the past that a diagnosis is not enough and we need to know about your symptoms in order to find you disabled. These are the exception to that rule. These are the illness that a diagnosis alone is bad enough that you get disability benefits automatically upon the diagnosis and you also get your case expedited. You can find the list here. Basically they are diseases like ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) or liver cancer where the diagnosis is going to be enough.
Really, the key here is communication. Getting Social Security disability is a long and frustration process. But if you are diagnosed with a terminal disease, Social Security needs to know and it does change your case substantially. Let your attorney or Social Security know as soon as possible.
For more information, see Social Security Disability Guide for Beginners, now available at Amazon.com. If you have any further questions, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231 or at www.fosterlawaz.com.