Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Living with a disability can be devastating. Disabled individuals may be unable to care for themselves, and many people who suffer from a disability find that they were unable to work. When medical bills are mounting, the loss of income associated with suffering from a disability can exasperate the problem. Fortunately, many disabled individuals who worked in the past are eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.

SSDI benefits are funded through paycheck deductions. SSDI is essentially an insurance program regulated by the federal government. Since the program is funded by people who work, disabled individuals who have worked in the past may be qualified to receive benefits. People who apply for benefits are required to have worked a minimum number of hours in the past, and the exact length of employment that is required to qualify for benefits depends on the age of the applicant. SSDI is paid for by the same people who request benefits through the program in the case that they become disabled, so there is no reason to hesitate when deciding whether to apply for benefits.

What Is ALS?

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological condition that destroys the nerve endings in the body that control movement. ALS typically starts in one part of the body, but the condition will progress until the nerve endings throughout the body are affected. ALS patients can be treated to reduce the severity of symptoms as the condition progresses, but the condition cannot be cured. Death due to an inability to control the chest and diaphragm in order to breathe is the most common end result of ALS.

Symptoms of ALS include pain in the affected region of the body, fatigue and uncontrolled saliva production. Loss of strength, muscle deterioration and twitching are all symptoms of ALS that affect the muscles. Some individuals who suffer from ALS develop cognitive disorders including dementia when the condition progresses. An ALS diagnosis typically means that a person will live less than five years.

Can You Get Disability Payments For ALS?

Since ALS is a fatal disease that cannot be effectively treated in a way that allows sufferers to maintain control of their body, the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows sufferers to apply for SSDI benefits through its Compassionate Allowances program. This program allows applicants to forgo some of the wait times associated with applying for SSDI benefits. However, a complete application is still required to ensure that benefits are approved.

An ALS diagnosis is necessary for an applicant to be considered for the Compassionate Allowances program. The results of imaging tests that were used to diagnose the condition should also be included with the application. Thorough medical records from licensed providers are typically required in order for an application to be approved, so it is essential for ALS sufferers to keep their appointments and report symptoms each time they see their physician and any specialists.

Getting Help From an Attorney

While people who suffer from ALS qualify for SSDI benefits, the process of applying for these benefits can be a long, confusing and overwhelming one. Many first-time applications are denied due to a lack of medical evidence. The best way to ensure that an application is complete and has the best chance of being approved is to consult with an experienced SSDI lawyer before applying. Attorneys who have experience when it comes to filing for SSDI benefits on behalf of their clients can guide their clients through the process to eliminate the stress and worry associated with this process. The first step is to schedule a consultation with a legal representative.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.