Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome and Social Security Disability

The average application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits takes at least three months for the initial review to be completed. The majority (about 70%) of SSD claims are also initially denied. This means most applicants must go through a second review and potentially an appeal before they receive a final determination on their eligibility for benefits. The entire process can take anywhere from several months to more than two years.

Those who have terminal illnesses and very severe disabilities don’t have that long to wait for benefits. The SSA understands this and developed the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program in 2008 to more quickly and efficiently address the applications for those who clearly suffer from terminal and other inherently disabling conditions.

At the present time, there are 113 conditions on the SSA’s CAL list. Come August, another 52 will become active on that list, including Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome.

If you’ve received a diagnosis of Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, the following information will help you understand the SSA’s disability claims process for this diagnosis. It will also give you some guidelines for increasing your chances of being quickly approved for disability benefits under the CAL guidelines of the SSA.

Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome – Condition and Symptoms

Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that results from a defect in a specific chromosome in the DNA (the short arm of Chromosome 4). The partial deletion of that chromosome is at fault for Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome or WHS.

While in some cases, WHS has a clear familial inheritance factor, most infants with the disorder have no family history. Obvious signs of the condition include physical defects and abnormalities at birth, including malformations of the head, eyes and ears. Congenital heart defects, mental retardation, muscle rigidity and seizures are also common. Other symptoms and signs can also sometimes be present, including abnormalities in the renal system, deafness and immune deficiency issues.

Still birth and infant death during the first year of life is common in WHS, with as many as one third of all infants born with the condition not living past age one. Those who do survive will have severe developmental delays. Seizures are a main concern for children with WHS, though nearly fifty percent of individuals with the condition will stop having seizures somewhere between the ages of three and eleven.

Typical symptoms at birth point physicians to WHS, including characteristic physical deformities, a weak cry, and slow prenatal and postnatal growth. When WHS is suspected, a genetic test should be run to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other genetic disorders. The missing section of Chromosome 4 provides a definitive diagnosis or Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome.

The disorder affects each individual differently and the prognosis in each case is also different. Based on deformities present, degree of seizure episodes, and other factors, many with WHS are able to survive well into adulthood.

There is no treatment for the genetic condition which causes WHS. Treatment instead focuses on individual needs and may include surgery, medications, and physical and speech therapy. Because symptoms and complications of the condition can vary widely, treatment and management is patient-specific and commonly includes multiple medical specialists.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome

Although Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome has been approved for expedited claims processing under the CAL guidelines, the diagnosis alone is not enough to ensure approval for benefits. You must still complete the full application for benefits and include extensive medical records in your application as well.

Every application for SSD benefits must be thorough in documenting the diagnosis, treatment and outlook for the disabled individual. This is true even when a condition falls within the CAL program parameters. The documentation in your application should include you genetic test results and all of your other diagnostic test results. All available medical records should be present in your application as well, including those which show heart, bone or organ deformities. Statements from every physician that has treated your child should also be included in your claim. The more detail you’re able to provide, the more likely your claim will be approved quickly and without need for further reviews or additional requests for information by the SSA.

Your Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome Social Security Disability Case

While Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome was recently added to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances list, this does not guarantee a claim filed with this diagnosis will automatically be approved. You must still show proof of diagnosis and other medical documentation in order to be approved for benefits.

Hiring a disability attorney can make the claims process run more smoothly and can shorten the wait time for SSD benefits as well. He or she can help by reviewing your claim and ensuring you have the appropriate medical records and other documents in your application necessary to satisfy the SSA’s requirements.

To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowance listings or to discover whether you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, request a free case evaluation today.

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