While most of us associate Alzheimer’s disease with those in their seventies and older, doctors also diagnose a large number of Americans with the mental disease at an earlier age. With about five million in the country suffering from Alzheimer’s, 500,000 of them suffer from the rarer early-onset Alzheimer’s. The early-onset version strikes Americans in their 50s, although diagnoses in the 30s and 40s have occurred.
About a year and half ago the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) made the move to place early-onset Alzheimer’s disease on its Compassionate Allowances list of afflictions that qualify for fast-tracked movement through the disability process. The media has paid more attention to early-onset Alzheimer’s after famed women’s basketball coach Pat Summit at Tennessee announced last month that doctors had diagnosed her with it.
People suffering from diseases like early-onset Alzheimer’s usually cannot afford to wait to begin receiving disability benefits. While regular Alzheimer’s patients may have 10 to 15 years until they become entirely disabled, early-onset sufferers experience symptoms much quicker and may be completely disabled after just five years. Additionally, because early-onset sufferers are younger, they usually have children and a family to support at that stage of their lives.
Alzheimer’s organizations and patients of the early-onset disease heralded the SSA’s decision. For Alzheimer’s sufferers, benefits available through Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) may be the primary source of financial support. The Compassionate Allowances list is one of the better changes that the SSA has made in recent years to improve the disability process. Those interested in taking advantage of the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances may wish to speak to a Tulsa SSI lawyer.
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers