Living with a terminal illness is unimaginably difficult for both the patient and the patient’s family. The Social Security Administration (SSA) wants to do what it can to help those with terminal illnesses through the Nebraska disability application process. When a person with a terminal illness applies for SSDI or SSI, the SSA will provide faster processing of the application through the Terminal Illness (TERI) Program.

Qualifying For Disability Through The TERI Program

Application through the TERI program is available to anyone with a terminal illness or condition that is expected to result in the applicant’s death. Some conditions that qualify for TERI processing are:

  • Chronic dependence on a cardiopulmonary life-sustaining device
  • Chronic heart failure or lung failure that requires continuous oxygen therapy and caregivers
  • Cancer that has spread to other parts of the body
  • Inoperable cancers
  • Stage IV cancers
  • Cancers that recur after treatment
  • Cancer of the esophagus, gallbladder, pancreas, liver, or brain.
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Oat cell (or small cell) lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
  • A coma lasting 30 days or longer
  • Fatal genetic condition or congenital defect in a newborn
  • Waiting for a liver, heart, lung, or bone marrow transplant

Applicants with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s disease) or AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) may also have their claims processed through the TERI system. Wounded Warriors and military casualty cases are allowed the same processing without the TERI designation.

An examiner or field office representative from the SSA can refer a claim for TERI processing if a doctor, family member, or friend tells the SSA that that the illness is expected to result in death. A claim can also be referred to the TERI program if the applicant is receiving inpatient hospice care or home hospice care.

The SSA will not tell the applicant that his or her file will be processed by the program.

Questions? Contact Our Nebraska Disability Law Firm

If a family member is suffering from a terminal illness, you will want to make the Nebraska disability benefits process as quick and smooth as possible. Our Omaha Social Security attorneys can also help. We can help complete the application and gather the information needed to support the claim in a compassionate and sensitive manner, giving you more time to spend with your loved one. We can also determine if your loved one is eligible for a Compassionate Allowance or presumptive disability payments. To learn more, contact Cuddigan Law at 402-933-5405.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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