The Social Security Administration (SSA) allows veterans who suffer from certain presumptive diseases and conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange, to have their SSA benefits claims expedited.
The SSA does this through the use of its Compassionate Allowances Listing, or CAL. The Social Security Administration uses the CAL to identify new claims that usually qualify for disability as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. This quick identification is one way the SSA provides benefits quickly to eligible applicants. More information about the CAL can be found at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/compassionateallowances/.
The Agent Orange presumptive diseases that also appear on the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances Listing include:
- Al amyloidosis
- Leukemia, all chronic B-cell
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Prostate Cancer (in certain circumstances)
- Soft-tissue sarcoma
- Epithelioid leiomyosarcoma (malignant leiomyoblastoma)
- Angiosarcoma (hemangiosarcoma and lymphangiosarcoma)
- Malignant mesenchymoma
- Alveolar soft part sarcoma
As a reminder, the Social Security Administration defines disability differently than does the VA. In addition, Social Security pays only for total disability, i.e., an inability to work, and only if you are found otherwise qualified. Social Security disability rules specify that:
- You cannot do work that you did before;
- Social Security decides if you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
- Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
Since March 2014, veterans with a 100 percent permanent and total (P&T) VA disability compensation rating may also receive expedited processing Social Security disability benefits. More information about this expedited processing opportunity can be found at http://www.ssa.gov/people/veterans/#ht=1.
Federal law and regulations define health conditions and diseases that are presumed to be a result of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange. A full listing of these conditions and diseases can be found here.