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Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) and Social Security Disability

There are millions of disabled individuals in desperate need of Social Security Disability benefits. Some of these applicants must endure the endless and tiresome appeal process and must wait years before their claim for disability benefits is approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The problem is, not all disabilities are equal in severity. Some applicants need immediate attention in regards to their disability claims. The SSA has recognized this fact and, as a result, implemented the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

There are 88 different conditions that qualify an individual for access to faster claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances program. Instead of waiting months or years for benefits to be approved, these individuals may receive an approval of their disability benefits in a matter of weeks. Individuals who have been diagnosed with Friedreichs Ataxia are among the applicants who qualify under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

If you have been diagnosed with Friedreichs Ataxia and are interested in how the condition affects your eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how to increase your chances of hassle-free approval under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) - Conditions and Symptoms

Friedreichs Ataxia, also known as FRDA, is a rare condition that was first described in 1863 by Dr. Nikolaus Friedreich. The condition, which is characterized by the progressive loss of voluntary muscular coordination and enlargement of the heart, affects approximately one in every 50,000 people in the United States. Friedreichs Ataxia, which is usually diagnosed in children between the ages of 5 and 15, is caused by a mutation of the frataxin gene. This gene is located on the ninth chromosome and the mutation results in extra copies of the associated DNA segment, trinucleotide GAA.

In normal, healthy individuals there are between eight to thirty copies of the trinucleotide GAA. In individuals who have Friedreichs Ataxia, the count may be as high as one-thousand. The more copies there are of GAA, the earlier the onset of the condition will occur. The disease is inherited and causes progressive damage to the body's nervous system. This damage can result in a range of symptoms including speech problems, difficulty walking and can also cause an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Approximately ten percent of the people who are diagnosed with this condition will eventually develop diabetes mellitus and twenty percent will develop a carbohydrate intolerance.

As of right now, there is no cure for Friedreichs Ataxia. In Canada, there is a drug called Idebenone that is used to treat the condition, but the FDA denied the distribution of the medication in the United States and discontinued clinical trials in 2009. Currently, treatment for the condition focuses on the symptoms caused by the disorder. In some cases, a metal rod must be inserted in the spine to prevent or correct scoliosis. Standing frames, wheelchairs, walkers and canes may also be used to help individuals who suffer from the condition. To address cardiovascular complications caused by the disorder, ACE inhibitors may be prescribed.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA)

Although Friedreichs Ataxia is one of the 88 conditions that qualify for disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you will still need to take care when preparing your Social Security Disability application. You will want to gather sufficient medical evidence to support your disability claim, such as medical records, lab results and copies of x-rays and other tests. Written statements from your treating physicians should also be provided to support your Social Security Disability claim.

Your Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) Social Security Disability Case

Some of the applicants who apply for Social Security Disability benefits as a result of a condition covered by the Compassionate Allowances listings assume that their applications will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration due to their medical diagnosis. This is not necessarily the case. The SSA has, in the past, denied disability claims based on a condition covered under the Compassionate Allowances listings. This is usually due to incomplete medical evidence or a lack of understanding on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the disability file.

If you want the best chance of filing a successful application and obtaining a quick approval of disability benefits, you may want to consider hiring the services of a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. Your advocate or attorney will help you gather the necessary medical evidence and will assist you in presenting your application in such a way that the adjudicator reviewing your file will understand the severity of your condition and how it qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to find out whether your child may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Friedreichs Ataxia, click here for a free evaluation of your disability case.