Support and expedited claim processing available

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a degenerative disease that affects motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. As these neurons degenerate, victims lose the ability to control movement in the limbs and other systems. The disease can ultimately cause paralysis, respiratory failure and death, according to the ALS Association. As any attorney Social Security Plainfield is aware, Lou Gehrig’s Disease is severe enough to virtually always qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Medical evidence standards

The Social Security Administration automatically considers ALS disabling if the applicant provides adequate medical documentation of the condition. Since no single test can conclusively diagnose Lou Gehrig’s Disease, the SSA requires various forms of evidence to support a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. Applicants must provide the following:

  • Relevant medical history
  • Neuroimaging or electrophysiological testing used to rule out other neurological conditions
  • Neurological findings used to support the ALS diagnosis
  • Any other objective evidence that agrees with the diagnosis, such as electromyography

If these requirements are met, an applicant qualifies for SSD benefits on a medical level. However, as any attorney Social Security in Plainfield can explain, benefits are only available if the applicant also meets non-medical criteria.

Financial requirements

To receive SSD benefits, an individual must have an adequate earnings record. The SSA requires beneficiaries to have a set total level of earnings, which is based on age. The SSA also stipulates that a certain amount of these earnings must have been accumulated during the decade before disability onset.

Additionally, people who engage in “substantial gainful activity” cannot collect benefits. In 2015, work yielding over $1,090 of monthly income is considered substantial gainful activity, unless the worker suffers from statutory blindness. People who suffer from ALS but fail to meet these financial requirements are not eligible for benefits.

Expedited processing

Victims of ALS who qualify for SSD benefits also qualify for faster claim processing through the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program. This program identifies conditions that are serious enough to invariably qualify for benefits from a medical standpoint. Reduced evidentiary requirements and expedited processing allow the SSA to make decisions on Compassionate Allowances conditions in less than a month in some cases.

Even under the Compassionate Allowances program, delays are possible. For example, a claims examiner may require extra time to find necessary medical information or wait for treating physicians to supply requested documentation. Applicants can reduce the risk of delays by providing all necessary documentation in the initial claim. An attorney Social Security in Plainfield can help applicants ensure all necessary evidence is submitted along with the claim.