Feb 12 2010
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) Included on Newest Disease Listing of Compassionate Allowances
The Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis (CPF) is praising Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue's announcement this morning via press release that Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), also known as Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF), and a listing of 37 other diseases and life-threatening medical conditions are the latest additions to Social Security's "Compassionate Allowances" program.
The "Compassionate Allowances" program provides expedited review of disability applications from people with severely disabling conditions.
"This is a watershed day for our patients and their families," said Mishka Michon, CEO of the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis. "Historically, most of our patients have been repeatedly denied disability by Social Security and much needed benefits have been delayed to them. Now, our patients will be able to receive their benefits before it is too late for them."
Many PF patients die before being approved for benefits by Social Security because the disease is so relentless, unpredictable and progressive. The average PF patient lives just 2.7 years. The CPF represents the 128,000 people who suffer from PF, an untreatable and terminal lung disease that causes irreversible scarring of the lungs. The disease has no FDA approved treatment, no known cause and no cure, and claims 40,000 lives each year, the same number as claimed by breast cancer.
According to Commissioner Astrue, "The expansion we are announcing today means tens of thousands of Americans with devastating disabilities will now get approved for benefits in a matter of days rather than months and years."
Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. It allows the agency to electronically target and make speedy decisions for the most obviously disabled individuals. In developing the expanded list of conditions, Social Security held public hearings and worked closely with the National Institutes of Health and the National Organization for Rare Disorders, of which the CPF is a member, and other groups.
Social Security will begin electronically targeting these 38 new conditions, including IPF, March 1.
Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis