The Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits application process can be quite lengthy, with most people waiting at least three months for their initial application to be reviewed. On average, about 70 percent of applications are initially denied benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Denials occur for a variety of reasons, though insufficient medical documentation supporting the disability claim is the most common cause.
If denied SSD benefits, the applicant must proceed through a second review. If denied benefits again, the decision can be appealed, and each step in the process increases the wait for benefits by several months at least. The entire process, from first review to final appeal, can take a year or more, with some applicants waiting more than two years for a final determination on eligibility.
For anyone suffering from a severe disability or terminal illness, waiting months or years for a decision on eligibility for benefits is impossible. For this reason, the SSA implemented the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008, which allows for the expedited processing of disability applications which contain certain diagnoses, now including I-Cell Disease.
Currently, there are 113 conditions which fall under the CAL program. Come August 13, 2012, there will be 52 more conditions added to the list of disabilities which qualify for expedited processing under the SSA’s CAL guidelines. I-Cell Disease is among those which will become active on the list in August of this year.
If you’ve received a diagnosis of I-Cell Disease, the information which follows will help you understand the SSA’s disability claims review process. It will also provide you some insight into how to more quickly see disability benefits approved under the CAL guidelines.
I-Cell Disease – Condition and Symptoms
I-Cell is a rare disorder which affects infants. Symptoms are usually observable by the age of six months. The disease is known by several names, including I-Cell or Inclusion-Cell Disease, Mucolipidosis II, and simply ML II. It is a liposomal storage disease caused by defect in phosphotrnsferase, an enzyme which is necessary for effectively metabolizing protein and other substances. Because the enzyme is defective in individuals with I-Cell disease, proteins build up in the body, causing the formation of I-Cells.
Physical signs of the disease which may be present at birth or develop soon thereafter include rigid or coarse facial features, abnormal skeletal structure or development, and limited joint movement. Enlargement of the liver, spleen and valves of the heart may also be present. Other symptoms include inflexible, claw-shaped hands and delayed motor skills.
The disease can be diagnosed by examining liposome under a microscope for the presence of I-Cells and liposomes can also be found in high concentrations in the blood stream through lab analysis. There is no effective treatment for the condition and no cure. Treatment instead focuses on supportive care and lessening the affects of symptoms in order to keep the child as comfortable as possible.
The progression of the disease brings additional symptoms, including cloudy corneas, dwarfism, chronic or recurring respiratory infections and middle ear infections, and carpal tunnel syndrome. The disease is fatal, with children afflicted by it not usually surviving past the age of seven, and the cause of death is usually respiratory failure due to chronic infections or complications from congestive heart failure.
Caring for a seriously ill child takes its toll on the finances and overall abilities of working parents to hold a job and earn a steady income. Going through multiple rounds of reviews and appeals for SSD benefits only adds to the stress and worry. The SSA recognizes this and has recently named I-Cell disease among the conditions which qualify for expedited claims processing for disability benefits under the CAL program guidelines.
Filing for Social Security Disability with I-Cell Disease
If you’re filing an application for disability with a diagnosis of I-Cell disease, you will be doing so on behalf of a child. The process of filing for SSD benefits for a child is somewhat different than it is for disabled adults. Though standard filing processes and review procedures vary, the documentation required for showing the presence and severity of a disability is the same regardless.
You must have extensive medical records in any claim for SSD. This is true even if your disability falls under the CAL program. In other words, even with a diagnosis of I-Cell disease, automatic approval of benefits is not guaranteed. You will still need to provide adequate documentation related to the diagnosis and treatment of the condition, including all your medical records, lab and other test results, and statements from treating physicians.
Your I-Cell Disease Social Security Disability Case
While I-Cell Disease is now considered a Compassionate Allowance by the SSA, and therefore qualifies for expedited processing, the diagnosis alone is not enough to be found eligible for disability benefits. You must include substantial proof of disability in your application in order to be found eligible for SSD. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you through the application and review processes, assist in getting the right documentation into your case file, and can shorten your wait for benefits as well.
To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to discover whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of I-Cell disease, request a free case evaluation today.