Helping Americans with disabilities


The World Health Organization held the first World Health Assembly in 1948, and beginning in 1950, every year on April 7 the world comes together to observe World Health Day. Each year, World Health Day focuses on a particular subject of interest to global health.

At Social Security, we focus on people’s health every day. Specifically, we provide benefits for people with disabilities. To help expedite the disability process, we recently announced the addition of 25 new Compassionate Allowances conditions. These new conditions include twelve cancers, such as prostate cancer, as well as disorders that affect the digestive, neurological, immune, and multiple body systems.

The Compassionate Allowances program expedites disability decisions for Americans with the most serious disabilities to ensure that they receive their benefit decisions within days instead of months. By incorporating cutting-edge technology, the agency can identify potential Compassionate Allowances and quickly make decisions. To date, we have approved almost 200,000 people with severe disabilities through this fast-track disability process.

“We are dedicated to providing vulnerable Americans with faster access to disability benefits through our Compassionate Allowances program,” Acting Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin said recently. “Social Security disability benefits are a vital lifeline for individuals who are facing severe diseases and we must ensure that they receive the benefits they rightly deserve.”

While Social Security joins individuals, groups and organizations around the globe to observe World Health Day on April 7, we work all year round to help Americans with health issues live a healthier life. In addition to cash benefits, beneficiaries obtain Medicare coverage after 24 months, a vital element in preserving an individual’s health and, in the long run, world health.

To learn more about disability benefits, visit: and for information about the Compassionate Allowances program, including a list of all qualifying conditions, visit:

Richard Carryall is the Social Security District Manager in Baltimore North, Maryland