NORD Applauds SSA for Expanding 'Compassionate Allowances'

Friday, February 12, 2010 Press Release J E 4

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) said today's announcement by the Social Security Administration (SSA) of expansion of the "Compassionate Allowances" program is extremely important to patients and families affected by rare diseases.

"Since Michael Astrue became Social Security Administrator, he has provided strong leadership in addressing issues that were very difficult and discouraging for people with rare diseases," said Peter L. Saltonstall, NORD President and CEO. "NORD applauds SSA for creating and now expanding the 'Compassionate Allowances' program, which provides expedited review of disability applications for people with severely disabling diseases."

Over the years, people with rare diseases have often encountered delays and frustration when they apply for Social Security disability assistance because those making the decisions are not familiar with their conditions. In 2008, Commissioner Astrue moved to address this problem by establishing the Compassionate Allowances program. Initially, the program covered 50 diagnoses. Today, 38 additional ones were added to the list.

Social Security selected the 38 medical conditions following public hearings and input from medical experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as NORD's Medical Advisory Committee and other medical experts. Additional information about today's announcement is available on NORD's website (

SOURCE National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)


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