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How to Qualify for Social Security Benefits With a Terminal Illness?

Published on May 30th, 2018

The Social Security Administration considers a terminal illness as a medical condition with no successful treatment available to prevent a terminal diagnosis. Terminal illness cases are called “TERI” cases by the SSA. When TERI patients apply for Social Security benefits, they do not need to state on their application that their condition is terminal. Field office representatives can submit TERI claims to the SSA when a physician, friend or family member tells them the illness is terminal or if the applicant is receiving home or inpatient hospice care.

Terminal Illness Social Security Disability Benefits

What Medical Disorders are Eligible for Social Security Benefits Under the TERI Program?

The most common conditions qualifying for TERI benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Metastatic cancer (Stage IV cancer)
  • Cancer of the brain, gallbladder, pancreas, liver or esophagus
  • Oat cell/small cell lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Any condition requiring a heart-lung-sustaining device
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia or acute myelogenous leukemia
  • Chronic lung or heart failure requiring 24/7 caregivers and oxygen
  • Being comatose for over 30 days
  • Newborns with fatal congenital or genetic defects

The SSA considers those waiting for bone marrow, heart, lung or liver transplants as TERI patients as well.

What are Expedited Disability Determination Programs?

Cases in the SSA’s TERI system may be eligible for expedited treatment necessary to delay or prevent death. People with ALS or AIDS may qualify for the Compassionate Allowances Program (CAL), the Quick Disability Determination Program or the Presumptive Disability Program for SSI. For example, CAL reduces waiting times for applicants to be approved by identifying claims clearly meeting the SSA’s disability standards. The Presumptive Disability Program pays benefits to applicants with serious medical problems while SSA officials gather evidence needed to decide on an application. The PD program is available only to people qualifying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Schedule an appointment with the Law Office of Daniel Berger today to begin the process of applying for Social Security benefits for a terminal illness.


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