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Batten Disease and Social Security Disability

This year alone, the Social Security Administration is expected to receive more than three million applications for Social Security Disability benefits. While the initial application process for disability benefits only takes three to four months, 70 percent of applications are denied during the initial stage. The average disability applicant, therefore, will often have to go through the lengthy disability appeal process, which can take more than two years to complete.

Some of the individuals who apply for Social Security Disability benefits because they suffer from extremely severe disabilities are sometimes not able to wait a year or more for an approval of Social Security Disability benefits. In such cases, the Social Security Compassionate Allowances initiative may be able to help.

There are 88 conditions listed by the Social Security Administration that qualify for faster claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances program. Batten Disease is one of these 88 conditions. If you or someone you know have been diagnosed with Batten Disease and you would like to know whether the condition qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits and how long it will take to process a disability application based on this condition, the following information can provide guidance.

Batten Disease - Conditions and Symptoms

Batten Disease, also referred to as Spielmeyer-Vogt-Sjögren-Batten Disease, is a childhood neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis disorder. The condition is genetic, caused by mutations in up to eight different human genes. In most cases, the disease is caused by mutations in the CLN3 gene. The condition is named after the doctor who described the disease in 1903, Dr. Frederick Batten.

Batten Disease usually develops in childhood, with symptoms appearing most commonly between the ages of four and ten years. While the specific symptoms will vary from among individuals, common symptoms of Batten Disease include vision loss, seizures, behavioral changes, learning delays, repetitive speech, poor coordination, slow head growth, decreased body fat, spine curvatures, teeth grinding, constipation, and breathing complications.

Cases of Batten Disease usually worsen over time. Children who suffer from the condition will often experience worsening seizures and increased mental impairments, along with continuous loss of motor skills, speech, and sight. The symptoms will become progressively worse until the patient is bedridden and suffers from dementia and blindness. Batten Disease impacts the life span of an individual, though the specific life expectancy of a patient depends on the type of Batten Disease from which the individual is suffering.

When Batten Disease develops, a buildup of lipofuscins occurs in the tissue of the body. When diagnosing the disease, a doctor will look for these lipofuscins under a microscope. Genetic testing may also be conducted to diagnose the condition.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Batten Disease, although there is ongoing research into potential treatments for the condition. Doctors are currently conducting studies on gene therapy treatments, which have been shown by recent studies to possibly slow the progress of the condition.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Batten Disease

When filing an application for Social Security Disability benefits due to Batten Disease, it is important that you provide as much medical documentation as possible with your application for benefits. You will need to provide the Social Security Administration with a complete medical history, medical records, and statements from your treating physicians.

Disability claims based on a diagnosis of Batten Disease qualify for expedited processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. This means that you may receive an approval for disability benefits in under a month. You will, however, need to provide the Social Security Administration with medical evidence proving your diagnosis and the extent of your medical condition.

Your Batten Disease Social Security Disability Case

Even though Batten Disease is one of the SSA's 88 Compassionate Allowance listings, it is advisable that you consult with a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate when filing a claim for disability benefits. A qualified representative will help you prepare your application and present it in the best light possible to the Social Security Administration. This will ensure that the adjudicator handling your claim understands the severity of your condition and how it qualifies you for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances program.