In 2011, there will be more than 3 million backlogged Social Security Disability applications, meaning that millions of disability applicants will have to wait months or even years before receiving an approval for Social Security Disability benefits. While this is not an ideal situation for anyone, for applicants with extremely severe or terminal conditions, it is completely unacceptable. In such cases, the SSA's Compassionate Allowances initiative may be able to help.
In 2008 the Social Security Administration created the Compassionate Allowances program, which allows some individuals to qualify for expedited handling of their Social Security Disability applications due to the severity of their disabling conditions. There are 88 conditions that qualify for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, including Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva.
If your child has been diagnosed with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva and you are wondering how the condition affects eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can shed light on the application process and how you can increase your chances of being approved for benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva - Conditions and Symptoms
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva is a very rare disease affecting the connective tissue of the body. Worldwide, the condition affects only about one or two people in every million individuals. In a normal and healthy individual, a person's fibrous tissue repairs itself after injury, but in patients suffering from Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva a mutation of the mechanism responsible for the body's repair causes the tissues to ossify (turn into bone) when they are damaged. As tissues such as joints and ligaments become injured they are replaced by bone, resulting in limitations on an individual's ability to move.
The Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva condition is usually discovered early in an individual's childhood, with the neck and shoulders usually being the first areas of the body to present symptoms. The condition then proceeds down the body and into the limbs. The formation of the extra bone structures can cause problems with movement, speaking, eating and even breathing.
The symptoms and effects of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva can be severe and debilitating. One of the most common symptoms of the disorder is the malformation of a newborn's big toe at birth. The toe usually appears short, with an abnormal turning. During early childhood, the patient will begin to experience swelling of areas around the neck, back and shoulders. This swelling will normally occur after an injury such as a fall or a bump. As the body begins to create new bone, the patient will often experience painful swelling of the tissue, stiffness of the joints and serious physical discomfort. A low-grade fever may also be present.
Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva is a progressive condition, and patients who are diagnosed with the disorder will experience worsening of symptoms over time. The progression of the disease is unpredictable, however, as the rate of new bone growth varies from person to person.
At this time, there is no cure for Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. Surgery cannot be performed to remove the excess bone formations as the surgery will likely just result in the formation of even more bone. There is, however, ongoing research to develop treatments for the condition. Drugs that can control bone growth may be on the horizon and medications are available to help relieve some symptoms, such as pain and inflammation.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
Because Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva is such a severe condition, it qualifies for processing as one of the SSA's Compassionate Allowances listings. You will still, however, have to provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence when filing a disability claim based on a diagnosis of this condition.
When filing a Social Security Disability application due to a diagnosis of Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva, make sure that you include a complete copy of your medical records along with your application. These records should include test results, a copy of the patient file and written statements from treating physicians. These documents will support your claim and will increase your chances of receiving a quick approval of Social Security Disability benefits.
Your Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva Social Security Disability Case
Many of the applicants who file Social Security Disability applications based on a Compassionate Allowances listing assume that their applications will be automatically approved by the SSA, but this is not necessarily the case. In some situations, claims based on a condition covered under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines can be denied by the SSA. This is usually due to improperly submitted claims or a lack of knowledge on the part of the DDS representative reviewing the file.
In order to increase your chances for a quick and hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability application, you may want to consider retaining the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. Your advocate or attorney can help you gather the medical evidence necessary to support your claim and can ensure that your claim is presented properly so that it is processed according to the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.