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Article

Qualifying for Social Security Disability with Alzheimer's Disease

By Cendy Moliere

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of diagnoses. An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be difficult for many families. Fortunately, help may be available for you. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial resources for people who are unable to work due to a serious illness.   Technical Eligibility for Disability Benefits   Most people qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. These benefits are awarded to adults who aren’t eligible for full retirement benefits yet (age 18-65) who’ve worked throughout life. So long as you earned around $5,000 in taxable income per year, you should qualify for SSDI benefits.   While SSDI is offered by the SSA, these disability benefits are still different from Social Security retirement. If you’re already on Social Security retirement, you cannot supplement your monthly benefits with disability benefits if you’ve received a new diagnosis. This unfortunately means that the majority of people with Alzheimer’s won’t qualify for Social Security disability, as Alzheimer’s is usually diagnosed after age 65.   Qualifying with Early Onset Alzheimer’s   While those with Alzheimer’s disease usually won’t be eligible for SSDI benefits, it’s a different matter for anyone who’s diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. They will be under age 65 so they’ll be technically eligible for disability benefits, and Alzheimer’s is a condition that the SSA lists as disabling in its medical guide of qualifying conditions, known colloquially as the “Blue Book.”   To qualify with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease, all you’ll need is a diagnosis. So long as your doctor used industry-standard tests to diagnose your condition (family history, neurological exams, cognitive tests, etc.), you should have plenty of medical evidence available to prove your case.   Compassionate Allowances and Disability   Some conditions are so clearly disabling, they’re expedited for rapid review. The SSA maintains a list of conditions known as “Compassionate Allowances” that qualify for this expedited review. Early Onset Alzheimer’s is included on the list of 200+ conditions that are approved quickly. When you apply for Social Security disability with Early Onset Alzheimer’s, you should expect your claim to be approved in as little as 10 business days.   Keep in mind that while the approval is fast, you unfortunately will not receive your benefits for a full six months after you apply. You also will not be eligible for Medicare for 24 months after your claim is processed. This is one of the biggest problems with the Social Security disability system—you’ll either need to have health insurance through a spouse in the meanwhile, or you’ll need to pay for a private plan in until your enrollment begins.   Starting Your Application   The easiest way to apply for Social Security disability is online on the SSA’s website. If you’re unable to type for extended periods of time, you can always ask a family member or loved one to do so on your behalf. If you’d rather apply with the assistance from a Social Security representative, you can do so at your local SSA office. Call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment to apply in person today.   Resources: E care Diary: https://www.ecarediary.com/PopularTopic.aspx?CatID=2 Social Security Disability: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/ SSDI: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/social-security-disability-insurance SSA Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm Compassionate Allowances: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/compassionate-allowances/early-onset-alzheimers-disease-social-security-disability Local SSA Office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp   Cendy Moliere works for Disability Benefits Center, an independent organization dedicated to helping people of all ages receive Social Security disability benefits. If you have any questions on how to qualify with Alzheimer's or about the disability process in general, feel free to reach out to our team at help@ssd-help.org 

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