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Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and Social Security Disability

Before 2008, each application for Social Security Disability benefits was processed in the exact same way. Although this was to ensure equal treatment, it wasn’t realistic. Applicants who suffered from severely debilitating conditions couldn’t survive the standard year-long wait to have their application approved. In 2008, the Social Security Administration acknowledged this and implemented the Compassionate Allowances program. This program allowed applicants with certain disabilities to be approved for benefits in as little as ten days.

Initially, only 50 conditions qualified for Compassionate Allowance processing. Today, this list has been expanded to include approximately 200 different conditions. This list includes Phelan-McDermid Syndrome.

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome Condition and Symptoms

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome is a very rare genetic disorder. The disorder is caused by a partial deletion of chromosome 22q. The deletion occurs at the terminal end of the chromosome. The location is designated as q13.3. There have been approximately 600 cases of Phelan-McDermid Syndrome reported worldwide. Symptoms of the condition can vary from patient to patient. Common symptoms associated with the disease include:

  • Reduced muscle tone
  • Development delays
  • Absence of speech or severely delayed speech
  • Very large hands
  • Very large feet
  • Dysplastic toenails
  • Abnormal growth
  • Decreased perspiration
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Decreased pain perception
  • Autistic behaviors

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

When you submit an application for Social Security Disability benefits it is your responsibility to provide the SSA with enough medical evidence to support your case. When applying with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome, the applicant must be able to prove that not only does the person they are applying on behalf of have the condition, but also that the disease meets the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Without this proof your case may be delayed or even denied. If you wish to receive a quick approval of benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you must provide the SSA with:

  • Medical reports including a clinical history and examination that describes the diagnostic features of the disease
  • Molecular genetic testing or fluorescent in situ hybridization test analysis showing the chromosome 22q13.3 deletion
  • Developmental assessment or psychological testing to address allegations of mental impairments

Unfortunately there is no cure for Phelan-McDermid Syndrome. Treatment is supportive in nature and is focused on lessening the symptoms of the disease. Physical and occupational therapy is often used to improve adaptive functioning and strengthen muscle tone. Speech and/or language therapy may also be used.

Phelan-McDermid Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case

When applying for Social Security Disability benefits you are under no obligation to retain the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. Doing so, however, may be in the applicant’s best interests. The SSA doesn’t often deny Compassionate Allowance claims, but they will do so if an application is incomplete or improperly filled out. You can avoid these mistakes by working closely with a disability lawyer.

When you work with a disability lawyer he or she will work with you to make sure that your disability claim forms are all filled out properly and that they are submitted according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Your attorney may also help you gather any necessary medical evidence. Statistics have proven that applicants who work with a disability attorney are more likely to be awarded benefits than those who do not.

Click here to find out more about applying for disability benefits due to Phelan-McDermid Syndrome or to receive a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.