Social Security vs. Alzheimer’s: The race against time

As discussed in previous posts and as many claimants are aware, the application process for Social Security disability benefits is not a quick one. In fact, if a case proceeds all the way to a hearing, the average processing time in Milwaukee is more than 600 days.

While almost all Alzheimer’s claimants eventually are awarded benefits, this long waiting period takes a financial and emotional toll on the claimant and his family. Time is not a friend to people with terminal illnesses. The passage of time is particularly difficult on the young-onset group or people under 65. This group, despite showing increasing signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia are more likely to be denied at the initial application level because of their age. Persistence however is key.

The Alzheimer’s Association is working diligently to influence the Listings related to Alzheimer’s and related dementia’s and we are already seeing some changes with the inclusion of two forms of dementia being added to the list for Compassionate Allowance Initiative. The Compassionate Allowance Initiative allows the Administration to find individuals with certain diseases/conditions disabled by the nature of their condition, assuming they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Experts are hopeful that Alzheimer’s and related dementia will be added to the list for the Compassionate Allowance Initiative, particularly to the benefit of young-onset claimants. Until then, it is important for Alzheimer’s and dementia claimants continue to pursue their disability claims through to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

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