The Social Security Administration (SSA) expedites disability decisions for applicants with terminal illnesses through its Terminal Illness Program (TERI) program. Terminal illness cases are those that are expected to result in death; the DDS (Disability Determination Services, the state agency that determines disability for SSA) is expected to handle these cases quickly and with sensitivity to the claimant's condition.
SSA and the DDS are alerted to possible TERI cases by any of the following situations:
Some examples conditions that qualify for TERI treatment include, but are not limited to, the following:
Except for fast processing, TERI cases are treated like other disability cases; for instance, SSDI recipients still have a five-month waiting period following the onset of their disability for which they can't collect benefits. And like all disability claims, including Compassionate Allowance cases, a medical consultant is required to review the file before the disability claims examiner at DDS (Disability Determination Services) makes a TERI determination.
If you think your claim, or the claim of a loved one, may be a TERI case, you should tell SSA that when first applying for disability benefits. That way, the claim will be expedited from the very start.
Note that QDD (Quick Disability Determination) cases and CAL (Compassionate Allowance) cases do not necessarily imply terminal illness, although they could involve such a prognosis. Sometimes these expedited programs overlap, and your claim might fall into two or three of the programs. In that case, you have an even better chance of a fast decision from Social Security.