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ALS and Social Security Disability Benefits

May is national ALS awareness month, so it seems appropriate to discuss the serious disease and how it works in terms of a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits claim. According to a recent article from NTV News, ALS, formally known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, and informally referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, after the famous baseball player who was stricken with ALS, is included on Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances List.

ice-971732-m.jpgAs our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits lawyers can explain, SSA will expedite the claims process for any applicant who qualifies under the agency’s Compassionate Allowances List. The agency says this will allow those claimants most in need to have faster access to much needed benefits to help pay for medical visits, prescriptions, and other expensive treatments when they are most needed.

The Compassionate Allowances List contains various disability conditions in addition to ALS, including certain forms of cancer, rare diseases, birth defects, and other medical conditions. It is rather unfortunate to note, according to SSA records, one in four claimants who fall under a Compassionate Allowance are younger than 20 years of age.

ALS, a disease that gained a lot of notoriety with last year’s viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” campaign, is a disease that causes neurons to die. This can result in stiff muscles, muscle twitching and spasms and muscle wasting. The condition is debilitating and advances to a point where patients lose the ability to speak, swallow, and even breathe.

Researchers do not know the cause in the vast majority of cases, but it is known in around five to ten percent of cases, the condition is hereditary. Much of the money generated by charitable contribution campaigns is used to treat patients already suffering from ALS, while a large portion of the money is used to determine the cause of the disease so that a cure may eventually be found.

ALS normally develops in people over the age of 50 but can occur in younger patients. The disease is also very fast acting, similar to mesothelioma. Once a person is diagnosed with ALS, they normally have a life expectancy of only one to four years. There are current treatments, which, if effective at all, can extend a patient’s life a matter of months, and non-invasive respirators, which can ease a patient’s suffering and improve one’s quality of life somewhat.

With ALS being as debilitating as it is and as fast acting, it is not hard to imagine why someone would need faster access to benefits. There is no way a person could work when suffering from an advanced stage of the disease, and it would not be helpful to have to wait years for SSA to approve an application for benefits, if they approved it all.

However, the mere fact ALS falls under the Compassionate Allowance List does not mean the agency will actually approve a claimant’s request for benefits in a reasonable amount of time. The best thing you can do if you or a loved one suffers from ALS is to seek a consultation with an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance benefits lawyer as soon as possible, so he or she can get to work on your claim immediately.

If you are seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Senators Baldwin and Johnson – Please Help This Wounded Vet, March 18, 2015 Forbes
More Blog Entries:
Hanson v. Colvin: A Critical Look by a Court of Appeals on a Denial of Benefits, August 14, 2014, Boston Disability Lawyers Blog

If you are seeking Social Security Disability benefits in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:
Learn More About Social Security Disability, Compassionate Allowances List