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Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD or Picks Disease) and Social Security Disability

Each and every year millions of individuals apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The majority of these applications are denied, resulting in the need for a disability appeal. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in such cases for a disability applicant to wait months or even years before receiving a single monthly disability benefit check from the Social Security Administration.

What happens when a disability is so severe that an applicant cannot possibly wait months for their Social Security Disability claim to be processed? In some cases, the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program may help.

In 2008 the SSA introduced the Compassionate Allowances program. The guidelines established under this program allow some disability applicants to receive an approval of their Social Security Disability claims in a matter of weeks, rather than having to wait months or years for the standard claim process to be completed. There are currently 88 disabling medical conditions covered under the Compassionate Allowances listings.

Frontotemporal Dementia, also known as FTD or Picks Disease, is one of the conditions covered under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. If you have been diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia and are wondering how the condition qualifies you for disability benefits, the following information can assist you in the Social Security Disability claim process and will help you understand how the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program can help you obtain a faster approval of disability benefits.

Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD or Picks Disease) - Conditions and Symptoms

Picks Disease, also known as Frontotemporal Dementia and FTD, is a type of dementia that involves abnormal substances inside the nerve cells in damaged areas of the brain. The condition is very rare. While it is usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 60, it has been reported in individuals as young as twenty years old.

Picks Disease is a progressive condition, meaning that the symptoms caused by the disorder become worse over time. This is due to the fact that the tissues in the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain shrink and progressively become smaller as the patient ages. While the effects of the condition develop slowly, they progressively worsen over time. Some of the common symptoms of Picks Disease include behavioral changes, decision-making difficulties, communication problems, repetitive behavior, inappropriate actions in social situations, memory loss, weakness, a decrease in coordination, and withdrawal from society.

If a doctor suspects that a patient is suffering from Picks Disease, he or she will conduct a physical exam and may order certain tests to rule out other causes of dementia. When diagnosing Picks Disease, a neuropsychological assessment will be conducted along with an MRI of the brain. An EEG and neurological exam may also be ordered, as well as a lumbar puncture and CT scan. A brain biopsy is the only test that can definitely confirm a diagnosis of the condition.

While there is currently no effective treatment for Picks Disease, therapies have now been proven to slow the progression of the disorder. Behavior modification may be able to help a patient to control dangerous or unacceptable behaviors. Medications, such as anti-depressants and tranquilizers, are often required to improve some of the symptoms of the condition. In most cases, individuals with Picks Disease will eventually need 24-hour medical care.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD or Picks Disease)

When filing a Social Security Disability application due to Picks Disease, you will need to provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence. When preparing your disability claim, be sure to gather copies of your medical records and written statements from treating physicians. These documents will help support your claim for Social Security Disability benefits and will increase your chances of obtaining a hassle-free approval from the SSA.

Your Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD or Picks Disease) Social Security Disability Case

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of Picks Disease, it is important to remember that even though the condition is covered under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines, may not obtain an automatic approval of Social Security Disability benefits. You will still need to provide the Social Security Administration with sufficient medical evidence and, in the end, the decision on whether or not to approve your claim is in the hands of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) adjudicator who is reviewing your file.

Because not all adjudicators understand the severity of Picks Disease or how it qualifies for benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings, you may want to consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. This professional will help you prepare your Social Security Disability application and will ensure that your claim is presented in such a way that the adjudicator reviewing your file understands how your condition qualifies you for benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to find out whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to a case of Picks Disease, request a free disability evaluation today.