For about seven years, Alzheimer’s advocates and caregivers had been pressing the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to improve its recognition of early onset Alzheimer’s as a disability. Their efforts paid off in early 2010 when the SSA added early-onset Alzheimer’s to its Compassionate Allowances program (“CAL” as the SSA calls it), which puts disability benefits applicants on the fast track towards receiving benefits. The SSA added similar afflictions to the list as well – mixed-dementia and Primary Progressive Aphasia.
In the past, many early-onset Alzheimer’s sufferers had to go through an often frustrating disability process – the SSA would almost always initially deny their application, and then the applicant would receive benefits on appeal at some point down the line (for some, as far as three years down the line all while their suffering worsens). Now their journey through the disability benefits should be much faster.
Dementia sufferers can apply for either of the SSA’s disability programs – Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). Both use the same definition of disability, so the CAL program can help applicants move quickly through both. SSDI requires applicants to have worked a certain number of years in order to qualify for SSDI benefits, but applicants may be able to use a family member’s work record to qualify. SSDI also helps beneficiaries qualify for Medicare under the age of 65.
SSI, on the other hand, does not require a work record, but is for applicants meeting certain low-income thresholds. SSI beneficiaries are typically able to get Medicaid benefits as well. Further details on eligibility are available from a Tulsa SSI attorney.
Do you have a loved one suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s who qualified for fast-tracked disability benefits? How would you describe the process?
Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability attorneys