Ohio Social Security Disability And SSI Legal Blog

Obtaining disability benefits with a terminal illness

Sometimes, people develop serious illnesses or injuries that prevent them from working. In such cases, they may pursue benefits through the U.S. Social Security Administration. Often taking between three and four months to receive approval, longer in some cases, some people do not have time to wait for their Social Security Disability Insurance to kick in.

For those with terminal cases, Social Security offers pathways to help people more quickly obtain the benefits they deserve and need.

What is a terminal illness?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a terminal illness refers to a condition that will likely result in death. For example, this includes conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, stage IV or metastatic cancer, chronic pulmonary or heart failure, or fatal congenital or genetic defects in newborns.

Does the SSA expedite terminal cases?

According to Social Security, the administration flags certain cases as terminal and expedites those for faster processing. Applicants do not need to include in their forms that they have terminal conditions. Rather, the SSA identifies such cases using specific descriptors. At each step of the application processing, a case flagged as terminal will receive priority. As such, they jump to the front of the lines. Further, management tracks such cases through review, following up at least every 10 days until complete.

When a serious illness or injury keeps people out of work for extended periods, they often worry about meeting their financial obligations. Considering options such as filing for expedited SSDI benefits may provide them with much-needed support as they focus on what matters most – their health and wellbeing.