Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive disease without a known cure. ALS attacks the nerve cells responsible for muscle movement. Over time, most voluntary muscles become paralyzed, impacting the ability to breathe, eat and speak. Over a thousand people with ALS apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits each year.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has passed a new law to help those with ALS obtain disability benefits sooner to cover the extensive and costly care of this rapidly progressing disorder. The new law, however, does not make the claims process easier nor does it affect disability determination protocols. ALS applicants must continue to meet the basic criteria for SSDI.
Dayes Law Firm understands that time is of the essence in these situations. We are here to help you get the SSDI benefits you need. An initial consultation is completely free and confidential. Visit our client reviews page to learn more about the services we have provided to many disability applicants.
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SSA Has Removed Five-Month Waiting Period
For most SSDI claims, there is a five-month waiting period before benefits are paid out after getting approved. This is meant to ensure that an applicant’s disabling condition will last for at least one year or result in death, as per SSA’s eligibility requirements.
For ALS applicants, having to wait five months to start receiving SSDI benefits can be devastating. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is two to five years. During that time, one’s health can quickly deteriorate. An inability to work can create significant financial hardships for someone with ALS.
The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 has eliminated the required five-month SSDI waiting period for applicants with ALS. This new law affects any current or future ALS applicants that are approved for disability benefits on or after July 23, 2020.
How This New Law Helps ALS Applicants
Removing this waiting period helps ALS applicants receive SSDI benefits more quickly to help aid with their condition. The SSA has made the processing of these claims even faster. Claims examiners previously had to prepare and send out benefit awards manually, which used to take considerable time.
This process is now done electronically. Someone with ALS can have his or her claim processed within a few days instead of weeks or months, given sufficient medical evidence was submitted.
ALS applicants, after being approved for disability, can worry less about having their living expenses covered due to the support received from Social Security and other government benefits. Approximately 30,000 people have ALS in the U.S., with more than 5,000 diagnosed with ALS on an annual basis.
Other Benefits Available for Those With ALS
This new law also helps those with ALS receive Medicare benefits faster and more efficiently. Eligibility for Medicare must be tied to an applicant’s disability diagnosis. ALS can be difficult to diagnose early because it can mimic other neurological diseases.
Once approved for Medicare benefits, it can help further alleviate the costs of treating the disease and ease the financial burden for those with ALS and their loved ones.
Our Firm is Here to Help You Obtain Benefits
Learn more about obtaining SSDI benefits for ALS or another disabling condition by contacting a licensed Phoenix-based Social Security Disability lawyer at our firm today. There is no risk in calling us to schedule an initial consultation. Meeting with a member of our legal team comes at no cost or obligation to you.
If you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, there are no upfront fees involved. We only get paid for our services if we are successful in helping recover benefits on your behalf.
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