Social Security has procedures to identify disability applicants who have very serious medical conditions that obviously meet disability standards, and to fast-track those claims so that they are granted quickly. These are called compassionate allowances.
The SSA website now has a page that explains compassionate allowances, and provides a complete list of the 88 medical conditions that qualify. There is also a webpage describing how compassionate allowance claims are processed, with links to the appropriate POMS sections.
It is a handy reference. If your practice is like mine, you get calls from people exploring the disability process who have advanced stages of cancer. Often the call will come from a spouse. The SSA's compassionate allowance page offers a good starting place for these individuals. I usually say that the disability claim will very probably be granted, hopefully quickly, and also tell them about the five month waiting period for benefits and the 24 month Medicare waiting period.
It is a great privilege to spend time on the phone with these people. Of course, most will never become clients, because their disability claims will be granted promptly. But they have urgent questions, and are unfamiliar with the Social Security disability application process. I am more than happy to answer those questions and explain what to expect from the Social Security application and claim review process.