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Alzheimers and Disability Benefits

Memory loss is not uncommon as claimants age. In fact, many people, as they age, may loss the ability to recall past events or experience a small degree of forgetfulness. If you have difficulty learning new things or retraining information you may simply be experiencing mild memory loss or it could be an indication of something more severe such as Alzheimers.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)"]English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...[/caption]

Claimants with a “normal” degree of memory loss will have difficulty proving that they cannot do some type of work. This will be especially true for young claimants. Claimants with severe memory loss, however, may be able to prove that their ability to work has been so substantially reduced that they can win Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Alzheimer's Disease and SSDI and SSI

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative neurological condition which can be progressive, eventually leading to loss of the ability for many individuals to care for themselves. It can cause short-term memory loss, incontinence or the inability to solve problems. Some Alzheimer’s patients may become so disoriented that they can get lost and eventually have to be moved to a full care facility.

It is unclear what causes Alzheimer’s disease, although it is assumed that there are some genetic factors which may make certain individuals more prone to this condition. Common symptoms of the disease can include:

  1. Loss of memory which results in repetitive statements.

  2. Forgetfulness

  3. Inability to remember family members

  4. Disorientation and misinterpreting spatial relationships

  5. Difficulty writing and identifying words

  6. Inability to think or reason effectively

  7. Lack of decision making ability and judgment

  8. Inability to perform and plan tasks

  9. Changes in an individual’s personality

Winning SSDI or SSI for Alzheimer’s Disease

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has several methods for determining whether a claimant is disabled and unable to work. They maintain a list of all conditions and symptoms which they consider disabling (SSA Listing of Impairments), and if your condition is so severe your condition and symptoms meet or exceed a listing you may be automatically approved for SSDI or SSI benefits, assuming you meet the nonmedical requirements of either program.

The SSA also has a program called the Compassionate Allowance Program.If you have been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, you may qualify for Compassionate Allowance (CAL) which allows the SSA to quickly identify conditions they can approve based on a minimal amount of objective medical information.

The good news for claimants with Alzheimer’s Disease is if their condition is considered severe enough to meet the Compassionate Allowance Program requirements than claimants may be approved immediately and by-pass some of the hassle and extended waiting many other claimants experience.

Proving disability through a medical vocational allowance for Alzheimer's Disease

For those claimants who do not meet the requirements of the Compassionate Allowance Program they may be able to win SSDI or SSI if they are able to prove that their condition does not allow them to work.

For instance, claimants with Alzheimer’s Disease may experience extreme memory impairment, disorientation, a change in personality, disturbances in thinking (e.g., hallucinations, delusions), emotional disturbances (e.g., explosive temper outbursts, sudden crying, etc.) or loss of intellect and if the claimant can prove that these symptoms severely interfere with their social functioning, their ability to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace or they have had repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration, they may be able to prove that work is not possible.
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