If your loved one is experiencing early-onset Alzheimer’s before age 65, it has likely become very difficult for them to work. Even a part-time job can become impossible to perform. Symptoms of this heartbreaking disease include memory loss, challenges in planning and problem solving, and difficulty completing familiar tasks. To make up for total loss of income, Social Security pays benefits to people who are unable to work due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Basic Rules to Know About Monthly Disability Benefits
The federal government will count you as fully disabled only if:
- You cannot do work that you did before.
- The Social Security Administration decides you can’t adjust to other work because of your medical condition.
- Your disability already lasted or should last for at least one year or result in death.
Two programs provide monthly disability benefit checks:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program pays benefits to you and certain members of your family. But only if you worked long enough (about 10 years), recently enough and paid Social Security payroll taxes. (Paying these payroll taxes is how workers insure themselves for SSDI.)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is based on financial need.
What the SSA Looks for in Disability Claims for Early Onset Alzheimer’s
The SSA uses the same criteria for both programs to determine if an applicant is disabled due to early onset Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, meaning that a person is under age 65.
Early onset Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) makes up approximately 5%-10% of all cases of Alzheimer’s. According to the SSA, depression is a common complaint in the earliest stages of this disease. In later stages, it is common to see sufferers experience agitation, changes in personality and behavior, restlessness, and withdrawal. Unfortunately, there is no specific diagnostic test for this disease. Instead, your doctor must use the following to diagnose you:
- Clinical and family history
- Neurological and cognitive examination
- Neuroimaging scans
IMPORTANT: It’s possible to get approved for SSDI really quickly — within 30 days — if you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before your 65th birthday. This is because it is considered a Compassionate Allowance (CAL) condition.
What Are Compassionate Allowances?
The Compassionate Allowance (CAL) law speeds the processing of SSDI and SSI claims for applicants with certain medical conditions. Most CAL conditions get approved for benefits within 30 days of application. Adult-onset Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and a few other conditions receive this designation.
You may find it helpful to read over the actual Blue Book listing for neurological disorders to make sure your symptoms (or those of your loved one) match the requirements for receiving benefits. It says that because neurological disorders may manifest in a combination of limitations in physical and mental functioning, the SSA considers “all relevant information in your case record to determine the effects of your neurological disorder on your physical and mental functioning.”
To receive disability payments, your neurological disorder must result in a marked limitation in physical functioning and a marked limitation in at least one of four areas of mental functioning:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information;
- Interacting with others;
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; or
- Adapting or managing oneself.
Success Tips for Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disability Claims
Here is a checklist of things to keep in mind when you apply:
- Make an appointment with the SSA by calling first.
- When asked by the SSA claims representative what the disabling condition is, specify early onset Alzheimer’s.
- Ask family members, friends, or a Social Security disability lawyer to assist you with the application process.
- Gather the following ahead of your SSA appointment: Birth and citizenship information, Social Security number, marriage and divorce information, names and birthdates of your children, U.S. military service information, employment details for the current year and prior two years, self-employment details for current year and prior two years, job history for the past 15 years including dates and job duties, and education and training completed.
- Gather medical information including the names, addresses and phone numbers of your health care providers, including primary care physician, neurologist, neuropsychologist and/or psychiatrist. Also bring the following:
- Detailed lists of medical condition(s), medications (including who prescribed them and why) and names and dates of medical tests (including who sent you for them).
- Name and dosage information for all medications you are taking or have taken, especially for early-onset Alzheimer’s or dementia.
- Medical records from your health care providers, including primary care physician, neurologist, neuropsychologist and/or psychiatrist.
Expert SSDI Claim Assistance is Available for Early Onset Alzheimer’s Sufferers
To speak with a Social Security attorney in your state who is familiar with the SSA Blue Book, please click the button below now. It costs you nothing to speak with an expert about your early onset Alzheimer’s symptoms and how they are affecting your ability — or your loved one’s ability — to work full-time.
You will likely receive your claim approval very fast. An attorney charges you nothing in legal fees until after the SSA awards you benefits.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.