Compassionate Allowance - Batten Disease

Year after year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) deals with an overwhelming number of Social Security disability cases. Literally millions of new cases are considered every year. One of the unfortunate effects of such a heavy case load is that it often takes a long time for claims to be considered. The average time it takes for a disability claim to be approved is closer to 18 months and often includes a number of appeals.

While it’s certainly understandable why that the system needs to be thorough in order to adequately examine the merits of each claim, that’s small comfort if you or your child happen to be the one who is disabled and waiting for an approval. Fortunately, even the SSA recognizes that certain medical conditions should automatically qualify you or your child as disabled as soon as your diagnosis is confirmed.

Currently, the SSA has a list of 88 conditions, called Compassionate Allowances, which are recognized as automatically qualifying you for Social Security disability. For those with a qualifying condition, the process is sped up significantly, typically lasting only three weeks from the time of initial application to the time when the claim is approved.

Batten Disease – Condition and Symptoms

Batten disease is one of the 88 conditions listed for Social Security Compassionate Allowances. Batten Disease is generally (though not always) a disease which presents itself in childhood. There are several forms of Batten disease, and if your child is diagnosed with any of them, he or she qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance from the SSA.

Depending on the type of Batten Disease you are dealing with, the onset may be anywhere from six months old to ten years old. Most children with Batten disease live between five and ten years after the onset of the disorder.

Symptoms differ depending on the type of Batten Disease and the age of onset, but generally include stunted head development (head will be abnormally small), sharp muscle contractions, loss of muscle control and coordination, unresponsive seizures, visions problems, behavioral/personality changes, clumsiness, and learning disabilities. The symptoms are progressive and ultimately end in a bedridden or vegetative state and death.

There are some therapies which are believed to help prolong life and functioning of those suffering with Batten Disease, but there are no curative treatments or treatments which can stop the symptoms from progressing. Some of the treatments, such as seizures, can be treated with medicine in certain forms of Batten Disease.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Batten Disease

The SSA recognizes that children (and the few adults) with Batten Disease require special care and treatment. Due to the fact that many parents of children with Batten Disease are no longer able to maintain substantial gainful activity, Batten Disease is listed as one of the 88 conditions which qualify for the compassionate allowance program.

If your child is diagnosed with Batten disease, you are very likely to qualify for Social Security disability. As such, making sure your claim is accepted for a compassionate allowance is really just a matter of making sure all of the related paperwork is done properly and completely.

Many claimants make the costly mistake of assuming that just because a condition is listed for Compassionate Allowances, that they will automatically start receiving Social Security disability checks a month after they apply. While this usually does happen, there are many things which can go wrong in the application process.

Having a qualified Social Security disability lawyer look over your claim forms and medical records and help you file your claim is the best way to make sure that your initial claim is accepted in order to begin receiving your disability benefits.

Your Batten Disease Social Security Disability Case

The Compassionate Allowances program is designed to help you as the parent of someone with a condition like Batten Disease to start receiving your Social Security Disability benefits as quickly as possible so that you can focus on being there for your son or daughter. While the program works very well, you are doing yourself a favor by having a Social Security disability attorney review your case, just to make sure that everything is in order. Assuming everything is in proper order with your case, you should be approved to start receiving Social Security disability benefits within a month of applying and should start receiving payments shortly after that.