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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease) and Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) receives millions of disability claims from disabled individuals each and every year. This year alone, the SSA is expected to receive more than three million Social Security Disability applications. Of these, an overwhelming 70 percent will be denied during the initial stage of the application process. These applicants will need to go on to appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits. This appeals process can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete successfully.

Many people wonder what happens when applicants cannot wait months for an approval of benefits due to the severity of their condition. In some cases, the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances program can help. Individuals who have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are among the applicants who may be able to qualify for disability benefits without undergoing the lengthy and stressful application process that is experienced by most disability applicants.

If you have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and are wondering about applying for Social Security Disability benefits with your specific condition, the following information can help you understand the Social Security Disability claim process and how the SSA reviews claims based on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Conditions and Symptoms

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also referred to as ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease) is a condition that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. These nerve cells control an individual's voluntary muscle movement. When an individual suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, these nerve cells die and are no longer able to send messages to the muscles of the body. Over time, the condition gets worse and eventually, the muscles in the chest area stop working. This can make it hard or even impossible for an individual to breathe on his own.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a rare condition that affects only about one in every 100,000 people. There are no real known risk factors for developing the condition, although genetics are thought to play a role in the development of the disease. In most cases, symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis do not develop until after a person has reached 50 years of age.

While the symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis vary from individual to individual, symptoms are usually first exhibited in the breathing and swallowing muscles. Over time, it becomes hard for an individual suffering from the condition to perform normal day-to-day tasks, such as eating or walking. Common symptoms of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis include breathing and swallowing problems, gagging, weakened spinal and neck muscles, muscle cramps, progressive muscle weakness, voice changes, speech problems, drooling, muscle contractions, muscle spasms, edema, weight loss, and in severe cases, even paralysis.

There is no one single test to diagnose a condition of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Instead, a doctor will perform a variety of tests including blood tests, breathing tests, EMGs, genetic testing, MRIs and Head CTs, swallowing studies and/or a spinal tap.

As of now, there is no cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. A drug called Riluzole may be prescribed to prolong a patient's life, but this drug cannot stop the disease from progressing nor can it reverse symptoms that are already present. Most doctors will focus treatment on trying to control the symptoms of the condition. Physical therapy is often recommended. In some cases, patients may need to have a tube placed into their stomach for feeding. Breathing devices may also be required.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

Individuals who suffer from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are usually unable to work due to the symptoms caused by the condition, but fortunately this particular disease is contained in the listing of disabling medical conditions covered under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program. Because of this, individuals who apply for disability benefits due to a case of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis are often able to be approved for benefits in less than a month.

When filing for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, you will want to include as much medical evidence as possible with your disability application. Proper medical documentation will be crucial to the success of your disability claim. A complete medical history including test results, treatments and the clinical diagnosis should be included with your application for disability benefits.

Your Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Social Security Disability Case

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is among the 88 conditions that are listed under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program. As a result, your claim for Social Security Disability benefits is likely to be approved in just a few weeks. In order to ensure that your claim is handled properly, however, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate.

Working with a disability attorney or advocate will provide you with the best possible chance of obtaining a disability approval from the SSA. This professional will ensure that your application for Social Security Disability benefits is presented in the best light possible and that your disability claim is handled properly and according to the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.