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Blog

  • As regular readers of SS&Y are aware, the Social Security Administration administers 2 trust funds. The Old Age Survivors Insurance (OAS’) fund pays retirement benefits. The Disability Insurance fund (DI) pays disability benefits. When Congress passed and President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act in November of 2015 to reallocate current contributions between the OASI…

    7+ months ago
  • The Social Security Administration has announced there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2016 for the nearly 65 million Americans drawing Social Security disability, retirement or SSI benefits.  This is because there was no inflation between the third quarter of 2014 and 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage…

    2+ years ago

News

  • Spring-Summer 2015 Newsletter SSDI Insolvency Looms We’ve known it’s been coming for some time and now it’s on our doorstep. Unless Congress acts the Social Security Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI Trust Fund) will become insolvent late next year and unable to pay full benefits any longer. Millions of Americans who rely on their disability checks for most, if not all,…

    2+ years ago
  • Fall 2014 Newsletter OBAMACARE UPDATE On October 1st it will have been a year since enrollment began in the Affordable Care Act national health insurance program known as Obamacare. The difficulties in the early weeks and months have been well documented. But where are we a year later… Read the Newsletter in PDF format.   Read the Newsletter in PDF…

    2+ years ago

Understanding Your Disability: ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease

What Lou Gehrig's Disease patients should know about SSDIImagine not being able to control the muscles in your arms and legs, or being able to stop them from twitching. This is an early symptom of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS is so serious a disease that it has been given special consideration by the Social Security Association. But Lou Gehrig’s patients can only take advantage of those benefits if they know about them.

Understanding Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Lou Gehrig’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease. It affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and interferes with and eventually kills off the motor neurons that allow the brain to control the muscles.

An ALS patient may have trouble controlling his or her arms or legs, may have limited fine motor control, or have problems with speech. Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a gradual onset disease, which means the symptoms get worse and spread over time. In later stages, ALS patients may have trouble swallowing and breathing, and often become paralyzed.

This gradual loss of motor control can make working incredibly frustrating for Lou Gehrig’s patients. Tasks that once were well within their abilities will slowly become more difficult, until eventually they are unable to do their jobs at all. In the later stages of ALS, there is simply no job that a patient can do to support himself or herself.

ALS and Social Security Disability

The severity of Lou Gehrig’s disease and its disabling effects are why the Social Security Administration has named ALS on it’s “Listing of Impairments.” That means that if the applicant meets certain criteria, he or she will be automatically eligible for disability benefits.

The application should also be fast-tracked under the Compassionate Allowances program, and could be decided within a couple of weeks if everything is filed correctly. However, because of a waiting period built in to the law, ALS patients cannot collect social security disability benefits until 5 months after the onset of their disability. There is no such waiting period in SSI, which applies in low-income cases.

The Importance of a Diagnosis

The challenge of getting an SSDI award in Lou Gehrig’s disease cases isn’t the illness, it is the diagnosis. ALS is a difficult disease to diagnose. It often requires a clinical examination and a series of diagnostic tests, which gradually rule out other diseases. But in order to receive special consideration based on the patient’s disease, his or her medical records must explicitly state a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. That is why it is important for ALS patients to get a second opinion and get that all-important diagnosis.

A diagnosis of ALS is a tragic event since the disease is terminal. Don’t let your loved one’s final years be consumed with complicated administrative appeals. If you or someone you know has received a diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, contact social security attorney William Crawforth right away to make sure your social security disability application gets filed right the first time.

Call today if you have questions about the Michigan Social Security Disability Attorney and Lawyer Services provided by William Crawforth.

To schedule an appointment call 800-864-1244 or fill out the contact form at the top of this page.

  • State Bar of Michigan
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives

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