Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – Adult

Adults with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance program. If you have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and you cannot work, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits to help pay for your costs of living. The money from disability benefits can be used to pay for any living expenses, not just medical expenses. 

What is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy?

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a progressive condition that is caused by a genetic mutation. This particular mutation inhibits the body’s ability to create dystrophin, which is an essential protein for muscle cells. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy almost exclusively impacts men and causes muscle wasting and weakness, loss of mobility and motor skills, and eventually heart failure and respiratory failure. 

Symptoms of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy include:

  • Dyspraxia (deficit in motor control)
  • Abnormal gait
  • Progressive inability to stand and walk
  • Joint contracture (painful stiffness)
  • Scoliosis
  • Cognitive and intellectual impairment
  • Behavioral and mood disorders

Because this condition is serious and, in most cases, terminal, it qualifies for the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance program. 

What Is A Compassionate Allowance?

The Compassionate Allowance program was started by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make sure the people who needed immediate help due to their development of a serious or terminal illness were able to access disability benefits quickly. There are dozens of conditions that are on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance list. 

For people who have a condition on the SSA’s Compassionate Allowance list, their application will be flagged for quick processing when they submit an application for benefits. As soon as the application is approved, benefits will start being paid to the recipient, often within just weeks of their application’s approval. 

Adults who have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy can qualify for disability benefits if they meet the requirements that are listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book listing for muscular dystrophy states that an applicant must have:

A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.


B. Marked limitation in physical functioning and in one of the following:

  • Understanding, remembering, or applying information 
  • Interacting with others 
  • Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace 
  • Adapting or managing oneself

It is important to note that submitting medical evidence with your application is very important for getting a fast approval. 

Medical Evidence For Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

When you submit your application for disability benefits, in addition to including a letter of diagnosis, you should also include:

  • Clinical history and examination that describes the diagnostic features of the impairment;
  • Positive multiplex-ligation dependent probe amplification (MLPA) genetic test for large deletion/duplication mutations on the DMD gene, and microdeletion/microduplication mutations if necessary.
  • Muscle biopsy
  • Family history to identify related female carriers
  • Treatment records including surgical procedures and progress notes.

Ultimately, the more medical evidence you have, the stronger your case will be. 

Get Help With Your Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Claim

If you are not sure what medical evidence to include in your application, or you want expert help getting your application ready to help ensure you have a greater likelihood of getting approved the first time you apply, you should talk with an attorney that specializes in disability claims. Complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.  

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