When a loved one with dementia is too sick to apply for disability on his or her own, a representative can handle the claims process on the disabled person’s behalf. Alzheimer’s Disease, including early-onset Alzheimer’s, can be a debilitating illness that may render the claimant too sick to apply for disability.

There are two different types of disability programs available for people with dementia, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If certain criteria are met regarding the claimant’s medical condition and the condition is expected to last for no less than 12 months or is likely to result in death, the claimant can be approved for one or both programs.

How to Apply for Disability When the Claimant Is Too Ill

In cases involving dementia or other mental conditions, the claimant may be too sick to apply for disability without assistance. Thankfully, these claimants can get the help they need. Representatives such as disability attorneys and advocates can help guide the claimant through the claims process and ensure the individual is approved for benefits.

Friends and family members can also help handle the claims process, completing all necessary forms that the claimant may be unable to fill out. If a loved one complete’s the claimant’s forms, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will check with the claimant and ask for his or her signature or that of the claimant’s representative or power of attorney.

Individuals can apply for either SSDI or SSI online via the SSA website. The SSA will follow up to ensure completion of the SSI application. All forms for SSDI claims appear online.

The SSA also understands that in many instances claimants are too sick to attend a hearing if the claim requires one, in which cases the claimant can authorize someone such as a social worker, lawyer, relative, advocate, or friend to represent him or her.

The Importance of Evidence

To ensure a successful claim, supporting documentation including hard evidence of a condition is crucial. Individuals should gather all physician notes, medical records, prescription records, and other details pertaining to restrictions and limitations.

With enough documentation and support from advocates, attorneys, and others, a severely disabled claimant with dementia can successfully obtain disability benefits.