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Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) and Social Security Disability

Of the millions of Social Security Disability applications that will be filed this year, an overwhelming 70 percent are likely to be denied disability benefits if history is any indication of what applicants can expect in the future. Unfortunately, applicants whose claims for Social Security Disability benefits are denied must undergo a lengthy and complicated appeal process if they hope to receive benefits at any point in the future. In some cases, however, individuals who cannot wait months or years for their Social Security Disability payments to begin may be able to qualify for expedited benefits under the Compassionate Allowances initiative set forth by the Social Security Administration.

The Social Security Administration recognizes that some applicants should not have to go through the typical disability claim process due to the severity of their condition. As a result, the SSA has listed 88 different disabling conditions that qualify for expedited benefit approval under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (also known as CJD) is one of the conditions that may qualify an applicant for the streamlined disability claim process under this program.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and you are wondering how the condition may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help you understand how the Social Security Administration reviews disability claims based on a diagnosis of CJD and how the Compassionate Allowances program may simplify the disability claim process for you.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) - Condition and Symptoms

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is a rare degenerative brain disorder. The disorder affects approximately one in every million people worldwide and is most commonly diagnosed in adults. CJD causes dementia in the people who suffer from it and ultimately leads to death. The condition is similar in nature to other brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's, but this disease progresses much more rapidly than most.

While the severity of CJD can vary from patient to patient, common symptoms of the disease include changes in personality, anxiety, depression, memory loss, impaired thinking, blurred vision, trouble speaking and swallowing, insomnia and sudden, jerky movements. As the disease progresses, the symptoms worsen. Most patients eventually end up in a coma. Patients who are diagnosed with CJD are also at an increased risk of heart failure, respiratory failure, pneumonia and other infections. These complications often lead to death.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is thought to be caused by an abnormal protein called a prion. While these proteins are normally harmless, they can become infectious and can interfere with the body's normal biological process. Fortunately, the disease is not highly contagious and cannot be transmitted through touching, coughing or sexual contact. In most cases, the disease develops for no apparent reason. About five to ten percent of cases are due to genetic mutation, with patients having a family history of the disease. A very small number of patients contract Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease through contamination, usually after being exposed to infected human tissue during or after a medical procedure.

Patients who are diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease usually live an average of seven months after the condition has been diagnosed, although some patients may live one or two years after being diagnosed with the condition. Because the symptoms of the condition are so severe and the disease has such a significant impact on one's lifespan, Social Security Disability applications based on a diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease qualify for approval under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

When filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits based on a diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, it is crucial that you provide the Social Security Administration with as much evidence as possible to support your claim for disability benefits. You will want to include with your application for benefits a complete medical history, all available medical records and lab results, and written statements from treating physicians. Providing as much documentation as possible with your Social Security Disability claim will improve your chances of a quick and hassle-free approval of your disability benefits.

Your Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) Social Security Disability Case

Because Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is one of the 88 disabling medical conditions that qualify for faster claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, your application for disability benefits may be approved in a few short weeks. This means that you should not have to wait months (or even years) before receiving an approval of your Social Security Disability claim. It is important to remember, however, that a diagnosis of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease does not guarantee an immediate approval of your disability benefits. Some Social Security Disability claims that are based on Compassionate Allowances listings are still denied in the initial stage of the application process. This is usually due to improperly prepared disability applications or a lack of knowledge on the part of the adjudicator who is reviewing the claim.

In order to increase your chances of a hassle-free approval of your disability claim, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you prepare your claim properly, submitting the information in the best light possible to the Social Security Administration. This will also ensure that the adjudicator reviewing your disability claim understands the severity of your condition and that your claim should be processed according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.