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Early-onset Alzheimer’s can qualify for mental illness benefits

Early-onset Alzheimer’s can qualify for mental illness benefits

| Aug 12, 2015 | Social Security Disability Benefits for Mental Conditions |

The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s disease as a kind of dementia that can lead to a patient experiencing difficulties with memory, thinking and behavior. It is a mental illness that gets progressively worse over time and it becomes slowly and steadily more difficult for the patient to perform basic day-to-day activities. Many New Jersey residents may also be aware that there is no existing cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, numerous symptoms of the disease are known and researchers are constantly trying to find a cure.

Again, many people mistakenly believe that Alzheimer’s is a mental disorder that is only associated with old age. However, the fact is that the disease can affect people who are in their 40s and 50s as well. That form of the disease is called early-onset Alzheimer’s. Because Alzheimer’s is a disease that can put serious limitations on a person’s ability to perform even basic tasks, it is apparent that the disease would also make it difficult for a patient to hold a steady job, which means that Alzheimer’s patients often face financial difficulties because they cannot work.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently recognized the gravity of early-onset Alzheimer’s and included it in the list of qualifying mental conditions under the Compassionate Allowance Initiative. That means that individuals suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s can obtain expedited Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income if they are able to meet certain eligibility criteria. While applying, it is necessary for the applicant to state clearly that the claim is related to early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and not just Alzheimer’s disease because Alzheimer’s disease is not a part of the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance Initiative.

However, just as in the case of claims for other disabilities that the SSA recognizes, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefit applications for early-onset Alzheimer’s are often rejected. Such rejections can be on various grounds, ranging from high income and improper documentation to failure to meet the SSA’s disability determination criteria and lack of medical evidence. Therefore, when someone applies for SSD benefits related to early-onset Alzheimer’s, it may be wise to consult an SSD lawyer for guidance through the claims process.

Source: Alzheimer’s Association, “Checklist for applying for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income benefits due to early-onset (younger-onset) Alzheimer’s Disease,” Accessed on Aug. 4, 2015