What is ALS?
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease, named after the famous baseball player) is, in essence, a degenerative disease of the nervous system in which the voluntarily controlled muscles and the nerves connected to the muscles degenerate. As the muscles continue to degenerate and atrophy, everyday actions that you carry out become more and more difficult to achieve. Walking, stepping down to a curb, looking around, and even breathing are things that can become more difficult. All of these actions are voluntary muscular movement, which is what ALS affects.
While there are drugs on the market that temporarily limit the effects of the disease and slow the degeneration of the muscles and nerves, unfortunately at this time there is no cure. Thankfully, people are trying to raise awareness of this devastating disease in the hopes that a cure can be found (you may remember the Ice Bucket Challenge from several years ago, which took the internet by storm and raised over $115 million dollars).
What Does this Mean for My Well Being?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) can provide cash benefits to those who qualify for it due to being unable to work. ALS is almost an immediate and instant qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The SSA’s Blue Book lists no additional qualifications outside of a diagnosis by a medical professional to qualify for SSI and SSDI. This is one piece of good news for you. In addition, because of the severity and the instant qualification a diagnosis gets you, you can also apply for expedited approval. This means that your case could be decided within a couple of weeks rather than several months.
With SSDI, you are not able to receive benefits until five months after your disability emerges. However, with SSI you can start receiving benefits immediately. This means that upon approval of your case, you can begin to receive benefits immediately. In addition, if you are approved for SSDI on the basis of an ALS diagnosis, you do not have to wait the normal 2 years to become entitled to Medicare; you become entitled to Medicare immediately upon receipt of SSDI benefits.
Part of why the battle is easier for ALS is that it’s not as common a disease and is so incredibly debilitating so as to merit instant and immediate qualification for disability. The fact that this disease is both incurable and fatal means that it is the worst kind of disabling condition, and should be treated with the utmost respect. That is exactly what happens with the SSA.
If you or loved one has been diagnosed with ALS, we want you to know that we’re here for you. If you need help with your disability claim or just need more information, feel free to call us. We’ll get it done for you so that you can focus on YOU, not on paperwork.