When your child has been diagnosed with a disabling condition like Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD), everything in life changes. The realization that your child will need a great deal of extra help and supervision than most children do, combined with the fact that this necessitates either staying home yourself to handle the round the clock care or hiring someone who knows how to deal with special needs can add up to give you a loot to deal with.
One bright spot in the situation for parents of disabled children is that Social Security disability benefits can help defray some of the added expenses which come with having a child with serious developmental disabilities. Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and sometimes Medicare can make a great deal of difference in maintaining some sense of normalcy in your life while taking care of your child.
One of the down sides to the Social Security disability system is that it ordinarily takes a long time before benefits are awarded. This is partly because the Social Security Administration (SSA) deals with a tremendous amount of claims each year, and partly because the definition of what qualifies for disability benefits is very narrow and often requires a great deal of additional questioning and testing before Social Security disability benefits are approved.
The system is designed to weed out those who do not truly have disabilities which completely hinder them from gainful employment (in the case of adults) or developing at an age appropriate level (for children). While it does a good job of this, it also makes the system very slow and difficult to navigate for those who do have legitimate disabilities.
One thing the SSA has done to improve the situation is the enactment of the Compassionate Allowances program. Since 2008, the SSA has recognized that some conditions, by their very nature, qualify for disability according to the SSA’s definition of disability. Those who have these conditions no longer need to go through the same lengthy process as others to receive Social Security disability benefits. Rather, they are automatically approved (if their documentation is in order) and begin to receive disability benefits in less than a month in most cases.
Many of the conditions accepted for compassionate allowances are rare diseases or terminal cancers. Others include progressive neurological syndromes and a number of childhood diseases and conditions which clearly impede healthy development.
Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) – Condition and Symptoms
One of the conditions which qualify for a compassionate allowance (there are 88 listed conditions in all) is Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, a rare genetic neurological disorder. Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy affects the axons, which carry messages to the body from the brain. This in turn causes loss of mental skills, muscle control, and vision.
In most cases, the first symptoms appear during the first two years of a child’s life and include loss of physical skills he or she had previously mastered, such as head control, walking, crawling, and sitting. The child may also have blurry vision and speech problems. Occasionally, seizures are experienced as well.
There are signs of Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy which can be noticed at birth in some cases, including facial deformities such as crossed eyes, a small nose, large ears, low set ears, a small jaw and a jutting forehead. However, these signs don’t always accompany the condition, and none of these signs in and of themselves mean that a child has Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy.
Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy is currently without a cure or effective treatment. Some of the symptoms can be treated effectively with pain relief or sedative medication and physical therapy can be helpful in keeping the child as comfortable as possible, but there is currently nothing known which can stop or slow the disease itself.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD)
Thankfully, Social Security disability benefits can help you offset some of the additional cost of having a child with special needs. If your child has been diagnosed with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, you qualify for a compassionate allowance and can start receiving disability benefits within a few short weeks of applying for disability benefits.
You will want to make sure that you fill everything out completely and truthfully. You will also want to make sure that all of the pertinent medical documentation accompanies your claim. It can be a good idea to speak to your child’s doctor to make sure he understands that you are applying for Social Security disability benefits for your child and that the paperwork they request from him needs to be filled out and sent back in a timely manner, as your benefits depend on it.
Your Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy Social Security Disability Case
The most effective way to make sure your claim goes through smoothly is to have a Social Security disability lawyer review your claim. A good attorney will generally spot any problems with the claim or accompanying documentation before they ever reach the SSA. There’s no question that you will qualify for Social Security disability benefits if your child has Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy, but your disability lawyer can help you with the best way to proceed.