Angelman Syndrome is a rare condition that affects one out of every 12,000 to 20,000 people. The condition is something that people are born with and the signs and symptoms become apparent during infancy. Due to the debilitating nature of the condition, it is not uncommon for one of the child's parents to have to leave their work endeavors to care for the child. This can cause significant financial hardship. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can offset some of these financial burdens. If your child has been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome and you are wondering how Social Security Disability can help, the following information will give you the insight you need in order to qualify for disability benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines.
Angelman Syndrome - Condition and Symptoms
Angelman Syndrome is named after Harry Angelman, who first diagnosed the disease during the 1960s. The condition is a genetic disorder with a variety of characteristics. One who has this disease may experience a severe speech impairment, delays developmentally, ataxia and an intellectual disability. The signs of this disorder become apparent during infancy. Children with this disease will have something called microcephaly, which is when their heads are smaller in size than average. They also will endure episodes of epilepsy, in which seizures reoccur frequently. In adults who have Angelman Syndrome, they are likely to have very distinct facial features.
With Angelman Syndrome, it is likely to be noticed in children who are 6 months to 12 months of age. While the infant may appear completely normal at birth, they are likely to have feeding issues within the first few months of life. As they continue to grow, the first noticeable signs are developmental delays. Typically, seizures will begin somewhere between 2 years of age to 3 years. Children with this disease are likely to have a speech impairment which consists of the child using very little or no words at all. Along with this syndrome comes hyperactivity, sleep disorders, balance disorders, movement disorders – all of which can cause severe deficits in how the child functions.
Although those who suffer from Angelman Syndrome will experience delays in development, motor difficulties, and limitations in regards to speech, they will still live a full life span. As the individual ages they do not show signs of disease progression. On that same note, the disease will not regress either.
While there is no cure, with an early diagnosis, therapies and various interventions, the patient’s quality of life can certainly be improved. There is no one specific therapy to be used with patients. Medical therapy is usually necessary for seizures while physical or occupational therapy can help the individual to develop in other ways. Other types of therapies can be used to enhance the patient’s quality of life. These therapies include behavioral therapy and communication therapy.
Causes of Angelman Syndrome
Angelman Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is most often the product of a problem that lies within a gene location on chromosome 15, also called the ubiquitin-protein ligase E3A gene. In short, this gene is either damaged or missing. In the majority of cases it occurs due to issues from the maternal gene. While less likely, Angelman Syndrome can also be the cause of two paternal copies of that particular gene that are inherited by the child. This occurs instead of one maternal and one paternal gene and is also known as paternal uniparental disomy.
While Angelman Syndrome is very rare, it is still unknown as to what causes these genetic changes that result in such a disease. Many children and adults with Angelman Syndrome do not have a family history of the syndrome. However, within a small percentage, it has been shown to be passed down to the child from the parent. This tells researchers that if there is a family history of the disease, babies may be at an increased risk of developing Angelman Syndrome.
Filing for Social Security Disbaility with Angelman Syndrome
It is widely known that nearly 70 percent of the Social Security Disability claims received each year are denied by the Social Security Administration, resulting in the need for a disability appeal (which can take years to process). Fortunately, Angelman Syndrome is now one of the few conditions that qualify for disability claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. Because of this, applicants who are suffering from Angelman Syndrome may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years for benefits to begin.
When filing for Social Security Disability, make sure that you answer all of the questions on the claim forms in their entirety. Do not leave any question unanswered and when you are answering questions, give as much detail as you possibly can. This will help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand why it qualifies for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. Also make sure you include sufficient medical evidence including all medical records and a written statement from your treating physician.
Angelman Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case
Just because Angelman Syndrome is included in the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Listings, do not assume that your Social Security Disability claim will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. It is not common for the SSA to deny Compassionate Allowances claims, but it has been known to happen. This is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence, improperly filled out claim forms or a lack of knowledge and/or understanding on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the Social Security Disability file.
If you would like to increase your chances of obtaining a hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability claim based on a case of Angelman Syndrome, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you with your disability claim to ensure a quick and hassle-free approval.
To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowances listings or to find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to Angelman Syndrome, submit a contact form a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.