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Social Security Fast-Track Processes Get Faster

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The advice and guidance of an experienced North Carolina Social Security disability benefits can be invaluable. Call Bridgman & Serbin at (704) 815-6055.

From time to time, we will let you know about changes in the Social Security law that may affect your claim for North Carolina Social Security disability benefits. One such change, involving the Social Security fast-track processes, occurred this month.


By way of background, the Social Security Administration employs two fast-track processes – Quick Disability Determination (QDD) and Compassionate Allowances (CAL). Under the QDD process, a predictive computer model analyzes specific data to identify cases in which it is highly likely that the claimant is disabled and medical evidence can be obtained quickly. Under the CAL process, Social Security uses a list to quickly identify diseases and other medical conditions that invariably qualify under the Listing of Impairments based on minimal, but sufficient, objective medical information. The CAL process currently identifies 88 specific diseases and conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits and can be fast-tracked. Both the QDD and CAL processes were developed with the goal of quickly getting benefits to the most severely disabled applicants.

A disability examiner and a medical or psychological consultant from North Carolina Disability Determination Services generally work together to make a disability determination at the first two levels of the administrative review process (initial application and Request for Reconsideration). The members of the team are jointly responsible for the determination. Applications handled under the QDD and CAL processes are decided in less than two weeks, on average.

New Rules

The Social Security Administration recently published final rules that will further reduce the time it takes to decide applications for disability benefits filed by persons with the most severe disabilities. The new rules allow disability examiners to make fully favorable determinations for adult cases under the QDD and CAL processes, without medical or psychological consultant approval. Consequently, these fast-track processes will now be even faster.

The final rules became effective November 12, 2010. The text of the rules (20 CFR Parts 404 and 416), is published in the Federal Register. To learn more about Social Security’s Compassionate Allowances process, click here. If you would like to talk with an experienced North Carolina Social Security disability attorney about these fast-track programs, please contact us.

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