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Schindler Disease Type 1 and Social Security Disability

The process of applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits is often very lengthy. It begins with the cumbersome task of putting together an application, which after being submitted commonly takes three to four months before it’s reviewed. Lengthening the process further is the fact that about 70 percent of applicants are denied SSD benefits during the first review.

If initially denied benefits, applicants must usually go through a second review and eventually an appeal after being denied a second time. In all, the process can take a year or more, with some applicants waiting as long as two years.

Because those who have very severe disabilities and terminal illnesses don’t have months or years to wait for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) instituted the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008. CAL is intended to speed up the review and approval process for conditions in which disability is inarguably present.

There are 113 conditions on the CAL program list currently and another 52 which were recently approved for addition, effective August 13, 2012. Among the newly approved conditions is Schindler Disease Type 1.

If your child has been diagnosed with Schindler Disease Type 1, the following information will help you understand the SSA’s review process for disability claims. It may also help you increase your chances of being quickly approved for disability benefits under the CAL guidelines of the SSA.

Schindler Disease Type 1 – Condition and Symptoms

Schindler Disease can affect children and adults; however, Type 1 is the form of the condition which affects children, with symptom onset occurring in infancy. Schindler Disease is often commonly referred to as Schindler Disease Classic Form or Infantile Onset Schindler Disease. It is an inherited, metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of specific enzymes (alpha-NAGA), which are enzymes responsible for breaking down complex substances for the cells of the body to use. Because these enzymes do not work correctly in infants with Schindler Disease, complex compounds called glycosphingolipids build up in different body tissues.

Infants born with Schindler Disease appear normal until about one year of age, when they begin to regress, losing the physical and mental skills they previously acquired. This regression is developmental in nature, with infants losing their physical coordination and ability to process mental activities. Other neuromuscular and neurological symptoms may also develop at this time, including rapid eye movement, muscle tone loss and weakness, seizures and visual impairment.

Schindler Disease Type 1 is progressive, with children experiencing worsening symptoms over time. Symptoms which develop later in the disease’s progression include the muscle rigidity which leads to restricted movement, vision and hearing loss, severe mental retardation, and eventually failure to respond to environmental stimuli.

While the presence of the symptom cluster which usually appears around the age of one may lead physicians to suspect Schindler Disease, in order to confirm the diagnosis, blood tests, biopsies and other tests will be required. Genetic testing can also confirm the diagnosis, with gene abnormalities being present in the 22q11 gene.

As a progressive metabolic disorder for which there is no cure, Schindler Disease Type 1 is a terminal illness. The majority of infants with this condition do not live beyond the age of four years. Treatment for the disease focuses primarily on symptoms and on keeping the child comfortable. Anti-seizure medications, feeding support, physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and other symptomatic therapies can be employed.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Schindler Disease Type 1

As Schindler Disease Type 1 is a terminal illness, seeking disability benefits under the SSA’s CAL program with this diagnosis is usually less complicated, but you will still need to include as much medical evidence as possible in your claim. While it’s true that the SSA views terminal illnesses differently, you will still need to complete the full application for disability benefits.

This means you’ll need to place all of your medical records in your application, including test results and labs in addition to written statements from all your doctors. The greater the documentation in your claim, the more likely you are to be approved without additional delays.

Your Schindler Disease Type 1 Social Security Disability Case

After your child has been diagnosed with a serious illness, the last thing on your mind is the attention to detail required for completing a Social Security Disability application. This is exactly where a Social Security lawyer’s help can be invaluable.

You’ll need to make your SSD application as thorough as possible to be approved for benefits without delay. A Social Security Disability attorney who is familiar with the application process can help you ensure your file is complete and meets the SSA’s eligibility requirements. Having legal assistance can also help you get through the review process more quickly.