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Pearson Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Any application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can take at least three months to be reviewed by the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. The DDS additionally denies benefits for the majority of applicants during the initial review – about 70 percent according to national averages. Those denied benefits must usually undergo a second review and eventually an appeal hearing as well. This entire process can take a year to two years in most locations.

Because people who have very severe disabilities and terminal illnesses don’t have months or years to wait for a decision on their eligibility for SSD benefits, the SSA developed the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008, which is a process by which the DDS can expedite the review and approval of claims which are based on specific kinds of disabilities.

Currently, there are 113 disabling conditions which are among the SSA’s CAL list, though an additional 52 were recently approved for inclusion in the CAL program. Pearson Syndrome is among them, and is scheduled to become active in the CAL program as of August 13, 2012.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of Pearson Syndrome, the information that follows may help you understand how the SSA reviews disability claims for the specific condition. The following information will also provide you some guidelines for seeing a quick and smooth approval of disability benefits under the CAL guidelines of the SSA.

Pearson Syndrome – Condition and Symptoms

Pearson Syndrome is an extremely rare, genetic disease that affects infants and children. It is usually fatal in infancy, but some do survive into adulthood with the condition, though they often develop Kearns-Sayre Syndrome, a progressive and fatal neurological disease.

Infants and children afflicted with Pearson Syndrome exhibit pancreatic dysfunction, anemia and often hemophilia. There is usually a failure to thrive due to poor feeding ability or poor nutritional absorption. Muscle and neurological impairment, and other symptoms, including the development of scar tissue in the pancreas and the rapid onset of insulin-dependent diabetes as well as liver and kidney disease are also common. Some also have growth hormone deficiencies, hypothyroidism or hypoparathyroidism.

The disease is caused by a lack of specific genes in the mitochondrial DNA. The lack of these genes results in the failure of bone marrow cells to function normally, and an examination of bone marrow is the typical method of confirming a diagnosis of Pearson Syndrome. Blood tests performed prior to bone marrow examination may show low red and white blood cell and platelet counts.

Treatment of patients with Pearson Syndrome is continuous and involved. Ongoing red blood cell transfusions are required to treat anemia. Pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy is necessary for patients with exocrine pancreatic dysfunction. Fat soluble vitamin supplementation is also usually required. Antibiotics and other medications may be needed frequently to counter infections. Hydration, electrolyte replacement and other interventions are often required to counter intermittent metabolic crises. Growth hormone replacement therapy may also be necessary and thyroid management medications may also be required.

Infants and children with Pearson Syndrome require daily and ongoing supportive care, frequent hospital stays, and involved and complex medical treatments. Knowing this, the SSA recently approved Pearson Syndrome for expedited claims processing under the guidelines of the CAL program.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Pearson Syndrome

As Pearson Syndrome affects infants and children, you’ll be filing a disability claim on behalf of your child. The process of applying for SSD benefits for children is somewhat different than that required for disabled adults. Nonetheless, the type and extend of documentation within your application for benefits remains the same.

A diagnosis of Pearson Syndrome alone does not guarantee you’ll be approved for benefits. Thorough medical records must be presented in any SSD benefits application, even when the claim is filed for a condition which falls under the CAL program. In other words, a diagnosis of Pearson Syndrome does not eliminate the medical records requirements of the SSA.

In fact, your application should include all medical records, including lab and other test results as well as statements from the different physicians who’ve treated the condition. The more medical detail you can include in your initial application the more quickly the SSA will typically approve benefits and the less likely you are to need to go through additional reviews or appeals.

Your Pearson Syndrome Social Security Disability Case

Though recently approved for inclusion in the Compassionate Allowances program, Pearson Syndrome disability claims are not guaranteed for automatic approval for disability benefits. You must still submit a well documented case for disability. A Social Security Disability attorney can assist you in putting together your application and can ensure your documentation is sufficient for satisfying the SSA’s requirements.

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 Pearson Syndrome, request a free case evaluation today.