Expedited Application Processing

MainePERS recognizes the importance of offering timely, accurate decisions to members who apply for Disability Retirement benefits. In an effort to expedite the processing of certain cases, MainePERS has adopted a practice that incorporates use of the Compassionate Allowance List (CAL) developed and maintained by the Social Security Administration.

What is the Compassionate Allowance List (CAL)?

The Compassionate Allowance List is a compilation of severe medical conditions such as progressive forms of cancer, adult brain disorders and other serious conditions which often meet the eligibility criteria established for Social Security benefits.

The CAL is published on Social Security’s website.

How does MainePERS incorporate the Compassionate Allowance List (CAL)?

When an applicant identifies one or more condition(s) listed on the CAL on their application, the review of their case is evaluated for expedited processing, often resulting in a quicker eligibility determination. There are requirements set in law that may prevent expedited processing but each application with a listed CAL condition is carefully considered for this processing.

If my condition is on the CAL, does that mean I’ll be approved for benefits?

CAL applicants must meet the same eligibility criteria as an applicant who does not have a condition listed, therefore, inclusion on the CAL does not guarantee an applicant will be approved for benefits.  Inclusion on the CAL does communicate a clear indication that a severe medical condition may be involved and it does mean the application is highlighted for expedited processing.

How is processing under CAL different?

MainePERS Rule 506, Section 2 (2) (A) allows MainePERS to award benefits without the step of submitting a case to a Medical Review Service Provider “if qualification is clear to a lay person.” Since the CAL requires that conditions be at an advanced stage, MainePERS is often able to determine all eligibility criteria have been met without a review by a third party Medical Review Service Provider and without the extensive collection of medical evidence that can sometimes be required. For example, an applicant who is applying for benefits due to a later stage cancer diagnosis may only need to provide medical evidence from their current oncologist to satisfy eligibility requirements.

MainePERS may also be able to expedite cases that are severe but not currently listed on the CAL.

How long will it take for MainePERS to reach a decision?

Processing times vary from applicant to applicant based on the individual’s unique circumstances. The Disability Specialist assigned to a member’s case will discuss anticipated timelines based on the member’s circumstances.