A recent article in the journal Neurology projects nearly 14 million Americans may suffer from Alzheimer’s disease by 2050. That translates to almost triple the rate of Americans currently battling this degenerative brain disease.
Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia, is a progressive disease that worsens with time. Symptoms include disorientation, forgetfulness and depression. Symptoms can make it difficult to complete daily tasks like dressing and bathing. Depending on the severity of the disease, those with Alzheimer’s disease may qualify for social security disability benefits.
SSD and Alzheimer’s
There are three types of Alzheimer’s: early-onset, late-onset and familial. Early-onset Alzheimer’s is defined as development of Alzheimer’s symptoms before the age of 65.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s is covered as a compassionate allowance. Compassionate allowance is a division within the social security disability program that allows applicants to receive assistance in a timely manner. Applicants with disabilities that qualify for this program can receive benefits in a matter of months while those applying through traditional channels may wait years for the same assistance.
In addition to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, late-onset and familial Alzheimer’s may also qualify for benefits. These forms of the disease can fall within the organic mental disorder category of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) List of Impairments. This section covers psychological or behavioral diseases associated with a dysfunction of the brain. Symptoms including memory impairment and changes in personality that lead to an inability to complete daily activities can qualify for coverage.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is not specifically covered within the program, the inclusion of early-onset Alzheimer’s as a compassionate allowance may be the beginning of a trend for increased Alzheimer’s coverage.
Applying for social security disability benefits
As a result, it is important to apply for social security disability benefits if diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Social security disability applications can be completed with standard forms or online. Various documents are needed to complete the application process, including a birth certificate, proof of U.S. citizenship and a copy of W-2 forms for the previous year. Medical documentation may also be required and can include medical records and test results.
Once completed, the application is reviewed by the Disability Determination Services office. This office is a state agency that completes the decision for the SSA.
Applying for social security disability benefits can be difficult, and many applicants are initially denied coverage. It is important to contact an experienced social security disability benefits lawyer to discuss your situation and help increase your odds of obtaining benefits.