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Canavan Disease (CD) and Social Security Disability

The facts and figures regarding Social Security Disability claim processing times can be overwhelming. Did you know that approximately 70 percent of initial disability claims are denied by the Social Security Administration? Did you know that even though the initial claim process only takes three to four months to complete, the majority of disability applicants must wait more than a year before they are actually approved for disability benefits due to the lengthy and complicated disability appeals process?

There is no doubt about it... The Social Security Disability claim process is anything but quick and hassle-free. So what happens to applicants who have an immediate need for disability benefits? What about the individuals who cannot wait more than a year before receiving an approval of their disability claim? In some cases, the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances program can help.

The Social Security Administration has recognized that some disabling conditions are so severe that disability applications based on a diagnosis of such a condition should be processed as quickly as possible. As a result, they have created a list of 88 conditions that qualify for expedited claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Canavan Disease is one of the 88 conditions included under these listings. If your child has been diagnosed with Canavan Disease and you are wondering how the condition qualifies for disability benefits, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how the Compassionate Allowances program may help you with a fast approval of your Social Security Disability claim.

Canavan Disease - Condition and Symptoms

Canavan Disease is a rare and inherited condition. While individuals of any race or ethnicity can develop the disease, it is most commonly found in those of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. It is also frequently found among Saudi Arabians. Canavan Disease is a part of a group of disorders called leukodystrophies. These disorders are marked by abnormal growth of the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain.

Canavan Disease leads to the degeneration of the body's nervous system and brain. Symptoms of the condition appear shortly after birth and progress quickly. While the symptoms of Canavan Disease vary from case to case, common symptoms include abnormal muscle tone, worsening muscle coordination, an unusually large head and lack of control over head movement. In some cases, individuals suffering from Canavan Disease will also suffer blindness, hearing loss and, in severe cases, paralysis.

If a medical professional suspects that a patient is suffering from Canavan Disease, he or she may perform blood tests, urine analysis or a spinal tap. The samples taken will be tested for NAA acid. If NAA is discovered, DNA tests will be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of Canavan Disease. Prenatal testing is also available, however, there are risks associated with prenatal testing and it is not usually recommended unless both parents are carriers of the mutated gene that causes the disease.

As of now, there is no cure for Canavan Disease. When a doctor is treating a child for this condition, they will focus on reducing the severity of the disease's symptoms and making the child as comfortable as possible. Unfortunately, most patients with Canavan Disease will not live beyond the age of 18 months. However, in some cases, patients who are born with the condition can live into their teens or even their twenties. These individuals will, however, need intensive care and support throughout the duration of their life.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Canavan Disease

If your child has been diagnosed with Canavan Disease, you may be approved for Social Security Disability benefits in less than a month. There are 88 conditions that qualify for expedited disability claim processing under the Social Security Disability Compassionate Allowances guidelines, and Canavan Disease is one of the qualifying listed conditions.

When filing an application for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of Canavan Disease, make sure that you provide as much medical documentation as possible with your application for benefits. The results of blood work and DNA testing should be submitted along with written statements from treating physicians. These documents will be necessary in order for the SSA to approve your disability claim.

Your Canavan Disease Social Security Disability Case

Even though Canavan Disease is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for expedited claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, it does not mean your application for benefits will automatically be approved. You will need to provide the SSA with the necessary medical evidence and you will need to make sure that your application is presented properly. In some cases, initial claims based on Compassionate Allowances listings are still denied due to a lack of medical evidence or an improperly submitted claim. Because of this, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate when applying for disability benefits through the SSA.

By working with a disability advocate or attorney, you can ensure that your Social Security Disability claim is submitted properly to the SSA. Your attorney or advocate can also ensure that the adjudicator reviewing your file has the information needed to process your claim according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.