Compassionate Allowance - Ataxia Telangiectasia

Every single year, the Social Security Administration processes millions of Social Security Disability claims. This is part of the reason why it generally takes so long for Social Security Disability claims to be accepted or denied. On average, Social Security Disability claims take 18 months before they are approved, and involve a drawn out appeals process. In fact, it’s not unusual for claimants to fight for several years before their disability claim is accepted.

Obviously, when you are disabled, the last thing you need is a prolonged fight to prove that you’re disabled. Not only does this leave you without income, but in many cases it also leaves people without access to the very health care they need to prove that they’re disabled.

Fortunately, even the Social Security Administration recognizes that there are some conditions that should automatically qualify people who suffer from them as disabled. Since 2008, the SSA has been developing a list of medical conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances. The list currently has 88 distinct qualifying medical conditions.

Those who have been diagnosed with one of the 88 listings for a Compassionate Allowance are deemed to automatically qualify for Social Security Disability and are shuffled through the SSA’s red tape much faster than others with disability claims. These conditions typically are terminal or expected to lead to a loss of all functioning capacity. Because of the serious and progressive nature of these conditions, it is considered of utmost importance to move these claims to the front of the line and get them approved as quickly as possible. This generally leads to a turnaround time of about three weeks instead six months or longer, which is typical for normal disability claims.

One of the 88 listed Compassionate Allowance conditions is Ataxia Telangiectasia, a childhood neurological disorder. If one of your children has been diagnosed with Ataxia Telangiectasia, you can collect Social Security Disability benefits to help defray the added expense of taking care of your child.

Ataxia Telangiectasia- Condition and Symptoms

Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T) affects the part of a child’s brain that controls speech and motor functions and movement. The disease is genetic and inherited from one or both parents. Basically speaking, the effect of A-T causes an extreme sensitivity to forms of radiation such as X-rays, Gamma rays and other types of ionizing radiation. This is because A-T causes the body to produce a protein, which in turn affects other proteins that regulate the life cycle of the cells in the body. These cells are then incapable of protecting the body from radiation damage.

The most common symptoms of A-T include small red spider veins at the corners of the eyes, speech slurring, and balance problems. These symptoms often don’t appear until after the first years of a child’s life. About one in five children with A-T will also develop lymphocytic leukemia, lymphoma or other forms of cancer. A weakened immune system is also a common symptom, as are the resultant respiratory infections. As A-T progresses, there are a number of other conditions that normally accompany it; including diabetes, scoliosis, and kyphosis leading to need for a wheelchair.

As of this time, there is no known cure for A-T, and no way to slow down its progression. Most people with A-T pass away in their teens or early 20's. Medical treatment for the disease focuses on supporting the patient and making the symptoms easier to live with.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Ataxia Telangiectasia

If your child has been diagnosed with A-T, you’re no doubt concerned about how your family is going to make it. A child with A-T has a number of special needs related to their physical disability, and these needs often necessitate either being at home with then or hiring a nurse to take care of them. It almost goes without saying that this can disrupt your ability to work full time and earn a substantial living.

Because of the seriousness of the condition, the Social Security Administration recognizes that those with A-T should automatically qualify for Social Security Disability. A-T is listed as a condition qualifying for a Compassionate Allowance. This allows most A-T cases to make it through the Social Security system fairly quickly (in as little as three weeks).

However, simply having a qualifying condition does not guarantee that your application will make it into the right hands. If anything is incomplete or incorrect in your application or the accompanying medical records, you could be in for a much longer wait before you start receiving your Social Security Disability benefits.

The best way to make sure that doesn’t happen to you is to have a Social Security Disability attorney work with you right from the beginning stages of your claim. An experienced Social Security Disability lawyer will know exactly what the SSA needs to see on your disability claim and in your medical records to prove that you qualify for a Compassionate Allowance.

At the very least, your medical documentation needs to include a diagnosis of A-T, which has been confirmed by a sequential analysis of the ATM gene’s mutations. Having this can avoid the need for a complete review of the laboratory studies and other findings that led to your doctor’s diagnosis. Often, a review is required in A-T cases to confirm that the severity is sufficient to warrant disability benefits (there are very rare cases of A-T that aren’t severe enough and the SSA needs to rule out this possibility).

Your Ataxia Telangiectasia Social Security Disability Case

If you have any questions about your Social Security Disability case, or need further information on the Compassionate Allowances listings, please don’t hesitate to fill out the request for a free evaluation of your disability case.