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Alzheimer's disease joins compassionate allowance list

As we have mentioned in previous posts, there are some diseases for which a simple diagnosis would qualify one for Social Security disability insurance benefits. In a previous post we mentioned that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease is one in which a diagnosis is all that is needed to qualify. Other diseases, such as diabetes or cancer, may be allowed depending upon the ailments which are suffered. If your diabetes results in amputations for example, you may qualify as having a disability.

In 2010 another disease was added to the list for which a diagnosis is all that is needed. The list is called the compassionate allowance list, and it includes Alzheimer's and early-onset Alzheimer's disease. An individual with this allowance qualifies right away for SSDI benefits.

Alzheimer's disease affects a significant portion of our population. It has been reported that 5.4 million people are affected with Alzheimer's and 15 million caregivers are helping them on a day-to-day basis. Alzheimer's disease has no known cure and it is always fatal, however there are drugs and other treatments which may be able to slow its progress.

By placing Alzheimer's disease on the compassionate allowance list, the Social Security Administration is fast-tracking the process so that the benefits can more quickly get into the hands of the patients, and by association, their caregivers.

This designation also applies to those who wish to apply for Supplemental Security Income or SSI. SSI is typically for low income people and minimal assets who are typically 65-years-old or older and disabled using the SSDI definitions.

For those with a disability or Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, it may be a wise idea to work with a legal professional that focuses on these matters so that the process can be accomplished smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Source: Patriot Ledger, "SSDI fast tracking for Alzheimer's," Joan Wright, Sept. 19, 2012

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