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Cri du Chat Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Each year millions of applicants submit claims for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. In most cases, it will take anywhere from a few months to more than two years for an application for Social Security Disability benefits to be approved.

For some of the individuals who are applying for disability benefits, however, waiting months or years for Social Security Disability approval is not an option due to the extreme severity of the claimant’s condition. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has recognized the fact that certain disabling conditions merit immediate attention as the basis of a Social Security Disability claim. To respond to this need, the SSA has created the Compassionate Allowances program, which allows some Social Security Disability applicants to receive benefits in a matter of weeks, rather than months.

Cri du Chat Syndrome is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for expedited claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. If your child has been diagnosed with Cri du Chat Syndrome and you are wondering if the condition qualifies him or her for Social Security Disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowances program, the following information may help you understand your options.

Cri du Chat Syndrome - Condition and Symptoms

Cri du Chat Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that occurs when a person's DNA is missing the information contained on the fifth chromosome, which is partially responsible for controlling cell growth. Approximately 1 percent of cases of severe mental retardation are due to Cri du Chat Syndrome and the condition affects approximately one in every 50,000 live births.

While the severity of the condition and the specific symptoms of Cri du Chat Syndrome vary on a case by case basis, almost all cases of Cri du Chat Syndrome are marked by a high-pitched infant cry that is very similar to the cry of a cat (the derivation of the French name for the condition, which translates in English to “call of the cat”). Other symptoms of the condition may include a downward slant of the eyes, low birth weight, delayed physical growth, abnormally shaped ears, mental retardation, partial webbing of the fingers or toes, a simian crease in the palm of the hand, skin tags in front of the ear, delayed motor development, small head size, a small jaw and wide-set eyes.

When a case of Cri du Chat Syndrome is suspected, a doctor may perform a variety of tests. A physical exam will be conducted to check for epicanthal folds, poor muscle tone, inguinal hernia, separated abdominal muscles, or abnormally folded ears. Genetic testing will also be conducted to check for a missing part of chromosome 5. A skull x-ray may show an abnormal angle on the base of the skull.

There is currently no cure for Cri du Chat Syndrome. Instead, treatment is supportive and symptomatic. Therapy and special education classes are often required to assist with disability-related learning and behavioral issues, and speech and occupational therapy may also be offered. In cases where cardiac abnormalities have resulted, surgery may also be necessary.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Cri du Chat Syndrome

If you are filing a Social Security Disability claim for your child due to Cri du Chat Syndrome, you will need to include as much medical documentation as possible when submitting your application. Medical records, lab results and written statements from your doctors will be necessary to support your Social Security Disability case.

You may want to discuss your plans to apply for Social Security Disability with your doctor prior to filing your disability claim. Discussing your claim with your doctor beforehand will give them time needed to review your files and prepare a proper written statement for the SSA.

Your Cri du Chat Syndrome Disability Case

Cri du Chat Syndrome is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Because of this, your application for disability benefits will likely be approved during the initial stage of the disability application process, possibly even in less than one month. Although Cri du Chat Syndrome is one of the conditions listed as a Compassionate Allowance, you do need to submit your application properly to the SSA if you wish to prevent delays in the processing of your claim. Because of this, you may want to hire a Social Security Disability advocate or attorney prior to submitting your claim for disability benefits.

Having proper representation during the Social Security Disability claim process will ensure that your application for Social Security Disability benefits is presented properly to the SSA. It will also ensure that the adjudicator reviewing your claim understands the severity of your condition and how it qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.