In 2008 the Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced the Compassionate Allowances program to fast-track disability claims for those who had severely debilitating conditions. While the program only included 50 conditions when it was first introduced, that number has been extended to include a list of 200 conditions. Under the Compassionate Allowances program, applicants who qualify can be approved for benefits in as little as ten days. Dravet Syndrome is now one of the conditions that may qualify an individual for Social Security Disability claim processing under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Dravet Syndrome - Condition and Symptoms
Dravet Syndrome, also referred to as Severe Myoclonic Epilepsy of Infancy (or SMEI) is a rare form of epilepsy that begins during infancy. The condition is marked by prolonged seizures during the first year of life and other seizure types emerging during the second year. Some of the symptoms associated with Dravet Syndrome include:
- Developmental delays
- Behavioral delays
- Issues with balance and movement
- Orthopedic conditions
- Delayed speech development
- Growth impediments
- Nutritional issues
- Sleep disturbances
- Chronic infections
- Sensory integration disorders
- Autonomic nervous system disruptions
There is no cure for Dravet Syndrome. Treatment focuses on making the patient as comfortable as possible and addressing symptoms as they arise. Prognosis for those who are born with this condition is very poor.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Dravet Syndrome
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits for Dravet Syndrome under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program you will need to furnish certain medical evidence to support your case. In claims involving Dravet Syndrome, this evidence includes:
- Proof of genetic testing for mutations within the SCN1A gene;
- A clinical history and examination including a description of the diagnostic features of the impairment and physical and cognitive findings;
- Imaging studies that have been conducted, such as CT, MRI or PET scans that document structural changes within the brain of the applicant;
- Laboratory test results that rule out other causes for symptoms, including tests for low blood sugar, low sodium, low magnesium or thyroid disorders.
All of the above medical evidence and testing should be included with your claim for disability benefits in order to ensure proper processing of the applicant’s claim for Social Security Disability benefits. This evidence will be needed in order for the applicant to be approved under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Dravet Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Dravet Syndrome, it is important that your application is filed in such a way that the SSA understands how the claim qualifies for fast-track processing under the Compassionate Allowances program. To increase your chances of a quick and hassle-free approval, it is important to work with a Social Security Disability attorney. Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting only 25 percent of the back pay that you are awarded by the SSA (up to a limit of $6,000).