FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010 file photo, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue answers questions in Akron, Ohio. In an effort to ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration is expanding a program that fast-tracks disability claims by people who get serious illnesses such as cancer, early-onset Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease — claims that could take months or years to approve in the past. The Compassionate Allowances program approves many claims for a select group of conditions within a few days, Astrue said. The program is being expanded Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 to include a total of 200 diseases and conditions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Associated Press
FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010 file photo, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue answers questions in Akron, Ohio. In an effort to ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration is expanding a program that fast-tracks disability claims by people who get serious illnesses such as cancer, early-onset Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease — claims that could take months or years to approve in the past. The Compassionate Allowances program approves many claims for a select group of conditions within a few days, Astrue said. The program is being expanded Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 to include a total of 200 diseases and conditions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2010 file photo, Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue answers questions in Akron, Ohio. In an effort to ease the burden of being stricken with a debilitating condition, the Social Security Administration is expanding a program that fast-tracks disability claims by people who get serious illnesses such as cancer, early-onset Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease — claims that could take months or years to approve in the past. The Compassionate Allowances program approves many claims for a select group of conditions within a few days, Astrue said. The program is being expanded Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 to include a total of 200 diseases and conditions. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
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