Alzheimer’s is classified as early onset when it develops before the age of 65. This neurological condition can have various detrimental effects on short-term memory, communication skills, reasoning and behavior. Since Alzheimer’s is degenerative, victims often gradually lose the ability to work and even care for themselves. When this occurs, victims may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, as any Lake County SSD lawyers can confirm.
Victims of early onset Alzheimer’s may receive SSD benefits by proving they meet criteria in the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book.” The book includes a listing for organic mental disorders, which claims examiners use when evaluating claims involving any form of dementia.
Early onset Alzheimer’s may be considered disabling if victims can document one recognized symptom of reduced cognitive function. Acceptable symptoms include memory problems, IQ loss, personality changes and loss of awareness of time and place. In addition to one of these symptoms, people seeking SSD benefits must document two of the following issues:
- Inability to act appropriately in social environments
- Difficulty maintaining focus and pace to complete tasks
- Limited ability to perform regular daily activities, including self-care
- Recurrent episodes in which symptoms become markedly worse
As any Lake County SSD lawyers know, people seeking SSD benefits must support their diagnoses and claims with objective evidence. For victims of early onset Alzheimer’s, this evidence could include laboratory tests or brains scans that reveal the condition. Statements from medical professionals and personal sources can also help establish the symptoms and functional limitations an applicant experiences.
If a person doesn’t meet the relevant Blue Book terms, the SSA may find that the person’s impairments “equal” those listed. The SSA also may award a medical-vocational allowance based on a direct assessment of the applicant’s ability to work. People who may qualify for benefits through either process should provide extensive medical evidence. Applicants who may receive medical-vocational allowances also should furnish detailed information about their educations and work experience.
Expedited processing available
As most Lake County SSD lawyers know, early onset Alzheimer’s qualifies for the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program. This initiative provides quicker claim processing for conditions that almost always qualify for SSD benefits. In Compassionate Allowances claims, minimal evidence is needed to support a final decision. Moreover, the SSA offers expedited processing and approval of these claims.
Claim approval isn’t a certainty for people who suffer from conditions included in the CAL program, however. Applicants must meet general non-medical criteria regarding earnings and work history to qualify for SSD benefits. Additionally, applicants must provide adequate documentation to establish the existence and severity of the condition. If medical or supporting evidence is inadequate, the SSA may deny the claim.