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ALS patients have hope for faster disability pay

The news that you have a progressive disease for which there is no cure can be devastating. You may have a limited amount of time to accomplish your life goals before the disease robs you of your abilities. You may also want to ensure you have the resources you will need as the illness becomes worse. One of those resources is Social Security Disability Insurance.

Unfortunately, for those who receive the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the wait for approval for SSD benefits can be too long. Many with this dreaded disease do not live long enough to see the end of the SSD process and the precautionary waiting periods, and they never receive the financial assistance they may desperately need. However, a recent bill may eliminate that wait for ALS sufferers.

A grim outlook

After receiving your diagnosis, you likely did some research and learned that amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease. Also called Lou Gehrig’s disease after the major league baseball player who died of the illness in 1941, ALS progresses quickly, affecting the ability of your brain to control the movements of your muscles. Your doctor may have explained that, typically, those with ALS gradually become unable to walk, speak and breathe.

Within five years of diagnosis, most patients die, and those who survive need round-the-clock care. About 5,000 die in the U.S. each year of ALS. This rapid decline and impending death means waiting a minimum of five months for processing, and approval of your application for disability benefits is out of the question. During that time, you will likely be racking up medical bills and requiring even more intensive health care. This prompted some lawmakers to draft a bill to eliminate the waiting period for ALS patients.

No more waiting

The U.S. Senate easily passed the bill that allows the SSA to skip the lengthy waiting period for benefit eligibility for ALS patients. If the bill passes the House, those who otherwise meet eligibility requirements for SSDI will automatically receive approval based on an ALS diagnosis. This may be a great comfort to you since the SSA denies more than half of all first-time disability claims, often based on administrative errors or inadequate medical documentation.

A denial requires applicants to start the process over, which adds months or even years before seeing any benefits. For this reason, you may want to improve your chance of a fast approval by enlisting the services of a legal professional who understands the complex system of the Social Security Administration.