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Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Social Security Disability

Each year, millions of Americans file claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Some Social Security Disability claims are filed by parents of children who have been diagnosed with severely debilitating illnesses. In such cases, it is not uncommon for these parents to need immediate attention of their child's disability applications.

In most cases, a Social Security Disability applicant must wait months, if not years, for a disability claim to be approved by the Social Security Administration. Parents who are filing claims for severely disabled children, however, may be unable to wait such extensive periods of time before receiving disability benefits. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has recognized this fact and in 2008 they implemented the Compassionate Allowances initiative.

The SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings contain 88 severely disabling conditions that qualify a disability applicant for expedited processing of their Social Security Disability claims. Instead of enduring the extended wait times normally required by the Social Security Administration, applicants who qualify under this program are often able to obtain approval in just a few short weeks. Children who have been diagnosed with Types 0 or 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy are among the applicants who qualify for expedited claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.

If your child has been diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the following information will shed light on the disability claim process and help you understand how you can increase your chances of obtaining expedited approval of your child's disability claim under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances program.

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) - Condition and Symptoms

Spinal Muscular Atrophy, also referred to as SMA, is a general term given to a broad range of different muscular diseases. Collectively, these diseases are the second-leading cause of neuromuscular disease in the United States. The most severe forms of Spinal Muscular Atrophy are designated as Type 1 and Type 0.

Type 1 is also known as Werdnig-Hoffman disease, and Type 0 (the prenatal onset version) is technically referred to as Arthogryposis Multiplex Congenital SMA0. The cause of both conditions is the absence of a gene that produces the type of protein needed by the motor neurons of the body. Because children born with SMA lack this protein, the neurons in the lower spinal cord begin to degenerate and die.

The primary difference between Types 1 and 0 Spinal Muscular Atrophy is the age of onset. Those who are diagnosed with Type 0 develop the condition in utero. Those who are diagnosed at birth or within a few months of birth are diagnosed with Type 1.

Symptoms of the condition vary from patient to patient, but common symptoms of Spinal Muscular Atrophy include floppy limbs, impaired motor skills, difficulty swallowing, a weak suckling reflex, and breathing impairments.

Sadly there is no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and treatment is focused on addressing the symptoms of the condition and making the child as comfortable as possible. Most patients who are born with the condition will not survive beyond three to six months of age.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Types 0 And 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

If your child has been diagnosed with Type 0 or 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the financial struggle you face may become quickly overwhelming. If you have been forced to stop work activity to care for the needs of your child, you may be wondering how you are going to make ends meet.

In some cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help.

Due to the nature of your child's condition, your disability claim will qualify for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Even so, approval is not automatic, and an improperly completed disability application will likely be denied by the SSA. When filling out disability paperwork, make sure that you accurately and completely fill out all necessary claim forms and thoroughly answer all questions asked by the SSA. You can submit all disability forms online, if you do not want to go to the closest Social Security Field Office. When submitting your disability claim forms, also make sure that you include a complete copy of your child's medical records. The more information you can provide regarding your child’s disability, the more likely it is that you will receive a timely approval at the initial stage of application.

Your Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Social Security Disability Case

Even though Types 0 and 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy are included in the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings, it is not guaranteed that your child will receive an automatic approval of his or her disability application. You will still need to prove your child's disability to the SSA and submit the claim forms properly.

If you wish to increase your child's chances of receiving a quick approval of disability benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you may want to consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability advocate or attorney. These professionals can assist you in the preparation and submission of your disability claim, ensuring that it will be processed according to the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to find out whether your child qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits due to a diagnosis of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, submit a request for a free disability evaluation today.