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Social Security will Fast Track Benefits for Those with Alzheimer's

- Monday, September 17, 2012

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease emotionally, physically and socially, and also financially.  The costs of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s are compounded not only by the expense of professional caregivers, adult day services, assisted living or skilled nursing care, but also by the impact on the income of the person affected or the family member caring for that loved one.

There are 5.4 million people in the US affected with Alzheimer’s. With 15 million caregivers, many families deal with Alzheimer’s at home long before accessing outside services and help.

Often a family member has to reduce or eliminate their job, thus income stream, in order to care for their loved one. For those with early-onset Alzheimer’s, which develops before age 65, this impact on income can be even more considerable.

In 2010, Social Security included Alzheimer’s as one of the 165 diseases and conditions on the “compassionate allowances listmaintained by Social Security. The list is the basis of Social Security’s fast-track disability application system, which expedites applications of people whose medical conditions are so severe that they will qualify for benefits.

Typically, the disability application process takes months. But the compassionate allowances track allows an application to be processed within days, thus helping to minimize waiting time to offset financial losses.

SSDI is an earned benefit paid to blind or disabled workers with physical and/or mental impairments that are so severe it prevents them from engaging in their normal occupations or any other work. This impairment must be expected to last at least 12 months or until one’s death.  SSI is for people who have very limited income and assets, typically over age 65 or disabled.

With more than 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 having early-onset Alzheimer’s, this special processing to obtain SSDI benefits is one bright light in an otherwise often dark journey.

For information on Alzheimer’s care and assisted living in Richmond, VA, contact Spring Arbor.
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