WASHINGTON (AP) - In an effort to ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration is expanding a program that fast-tracks disability claims by people who get serious illnesses such as cancer, early-onset Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease - claims that could take months or years to approve in the past.
While providing faster benefits, the program also is designed to ease the workload of an agency that has been swamped by disability claims since the economic recession a few years ago. Disability claims are up by more than 20 percent from 2008. The Compassionate Allowances program approves many claims for a select group of conditions within a few days. It is being expanded Thursday to include a total of 200 diseases and conditions.