Any Florida resident who has applied for Social Security disability benefits due to a serious illness knows how difficult and lengthy the process can be. While you and your family patiently wait to hear if the Social Security Administration has approved or denied your claim, the financial hardship associated with your medical condition is not put on hold.
As the entire country marks May as National ALS Awareness Month, it is comforting to know that Social Security administrators have taken steps to streamline the process for some of those who choose to apply for benefits. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative condition that currently affects 30,000 Americans and their families.
ALS is characterized by a gradual deterioration of motor function that ultimately results in death. The disease progresses as the neural pathways between the brain and spinal cord slowly lose function.
Since 2008, the SSA has formulated a list of over 100 illnesses that fall under the "compassionate allowances" designation. Fortunately for those with the conditions included on the list, the process for approval of disability benefits is streamlined. Using medical information technology, the time for approval is shortened for those who have a medical condition that clearly meets federal criteria for a disability.
This is welcome news for those who suffer from ALS, or any of the other conditions covered by the compassionate allowances initiative. Rather than worrying about the time it takes to receive benefit payments, those dealing with a serious medical condition can focus their energy on staying as healthy as possible.
As you and your family prepare to submit an application for SSD benefits, it may be helpful to know if the SSA's initiative is inclusive of your illness. When making this determination, it will likely be helpful if you pursue the advice of a knowledgeable professional to ensure you submit the appropriate documentation to meet the federal government's disability criteria.
Source: The Daily Nonpareil, "Faster disability approval for people with ALS," Denise Jones, May 13, 2012