2011 Citizen Services Recipient: Bringing Compassion to Process

The primary purpose of the Compassionate Allowance
is to expedite the approval of disability claims for people who are very, very severely
ill. So, I always like to mention that most people are not aware that the standard in
law for disability is that the person has a medical condition that is so severe that
it prevents them from working for a year or is very likely to result in death. The idea behind the Compassionate Allowance
Initiative is to find by name — those conditions which pretty much are very, very likely to
be approved. It launched with, 50 rare diseases. It has grown over time. There are now a hundred
conditions. Benefits are now approved within 14 days,
which is much faster than before. Previously, it regularly took at least twice as much time
and often longer than that. Last year, these, benefits were approved for 45,000 people.
And we anticipate that this year, 65,000 people will receive benefits under the Compassionate
Allowance program. I came back to the agency after having left
for many, many years, because the opportunity to actually make a difference in people’s
lives on a national scale was just unbelievable. You could make a change on a much larger way
within the federal government than you can any place else. I feel unbelievably fortunate to have a career
in which I have been able to follow my interest and my passion. I really have always, throughout
my career, seen myself as an advocate for disabled persons and the elderly. ů often
both, who need different forms of long-term care servicesů that’s who I am.

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