The Social Security Administration recognizes that some conditions are presumptively disabling. While manyapplicants are unable to work, some have extremely limited resources and ailments that prevent them from communicating or walking without assistance. Others may not survive a months-long approval process.

What Are Presumptive Disability Benefits?

The SSA may grant immediate Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits to those who have certain disabling conditions and are likely to have their claims approved. These presumptive benefits can last up to six months while injured workers are waiting on the official decision from the SSA. In order to qualify, applicants must have suffered from one of the following:

  • Inability to move. A condition, such as a spinal cord injury or amputation of a leg at the hip, that causes total immobility without the use of assistance devices such as a wheelchair, walker, or cane.
  • Neurological condition. Any condition that has made walking, speaking, or using the hands and arms difficult or impossible, such as strokes, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or muscular atrophy.
  • Infections. Injured victims may get immediate payment if they have been diagnosed with symptomatic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Complete sensory injury, such as total deafness or total blindness.
  • Terminal illness. A patient in the final stages of a terminal illness, including ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) or end stage renal disease (ESRD), may receive payments immediately if the illness has resulted in a life expectancy of six months or less. A physician will have to confirm the diagnosis with SSA, and in most cases, the SSA requires a statement from a hospice coordinator or social worker confirming that the patient is receiving hospice care.

If you have a condition that is not on this list, you may still be able to get expedited benefit payments. For tips on presenting your disability case to the SSA, click the link at the top of this page to download our free informational guide, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim.

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