Alpers Disease is a rare disorder that affects approximately one in every 100,000 babies born. The symptoms of the disease, when they appear, can be devastating and it is not uncommon for a parent to leave the workplace to stay home with a child who is suffering from the condition. Fortunately, in many cases, individuals who have children who are suffering from Alpers Disease may be able to obtain Social Security Disability benefits on the behalf of their children. If your child is suffering from Alpers Disease and the financial strain is taking a toll on your family, the following information will help you understand the condition and how it may qualify your child for faster approval of disability benefits under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Alpers Disease Condition and Symptoms
Alpers Disease, also referred to as Alpers syndrome or Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome, is a progressive disease that is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern. The disease itself is caused by a mutation in the gene that is used for the mitochondrial DNA polymerase, POLG. While the disease is present at birth, symptoms do not usually appear until weeks or years after the baby is born. These symptoms may include dementia, liver disease, poor muscle tone and seizures.
Currently there is no cure for Alpers Disease. Instead, doctors focus on treating the symptoms of the condition and making patients who live with the condition as comfortable as possible. Oftentimes prognosis is poor when an individual is diagnosed with the condition, with most not surviving beyond a decade after diagnosis. Most deaths occur due to liver failure, heart failure or unrelenting seizures.
The exact cause of Alpers Disease is still unknown and the condition seems to have more than one cause. Most individuals who are born with Alpers Disease inherit the condition and the mutation of the POLG gene results in the disorder. In other cases, however, the disease may occur without this inherited genetic abnormality and may be caused by a metabolic defect.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Alpers Disease
This year alone more than three million people are expected to apply for SSDI benefits. Of those three million applicants, nearly 70 percent will be denied if history is any indication of the future. Fortunately the SSA has recognized that some conditions warrant special consideration when an application for Social Security Disability benefits is filed. As a result, they have created the Compassionate Allowances guidelines which allows some applicants to be approved in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years for benefit approval. Alpers Disease is one of the conditions that has been added to the Compassionate Allowances listings.
When you are applying for benefits based on a diagnosis of Alpers Disease, you must understand that even though the condition qualifies for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, you must prepare your claim properly if you want it to be processed according to those guidelines. It is important that the adjudicator who reviews your file understands that it qualifies as a Compassionate Allowances claim and how the condition affects the daily life of your child.
In order to make the importance of your claim clear and understood, you must answer all of the questions on the application paperwork carefully. Yes or no answers will not suffice. Present as much detail as possible and furnish the SSA with supporting medical documentation such as written statements from treating physicians, lab reports, treatment histories and other medical records. The more information you can provide to support your claim, the more likely it will be granted under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Alpers Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits for a child who has been diagnosed with alpers disease, you may want to consider retaining the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. The Social Security Disability claim process can be overwhelming and the paperwork must be filled out properly for your child to have the best chance of an approval at the initial stage of the application process. A Social Security Disability lawyer can ensure that your claim forms are submitted in such a way that the SSA understands the nature of the claim and how your child qualifies for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. This will help you receive your benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin.