Compassionate Allowance - Canavan Disease (CD)

When you put in a claim for Social Security Disability, your claim will be one of millions that cross the desks of Social Security Disability adjudicators this year. For most people, this means that it will take three months or longer before their case is even looked at. Even then, only about a third of the cases that the SSA considers are accepted right away. Most are denied and have to go through a prolonged appeals process (which also involves a lot of waiting for the SSA). Social Security disability claims often take 18 months or even longer before they are finally approved, usually during a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

However, if you have one of the 88 conditions that the Social Security Administration recognizes as automatically qualifying you as disabled, you may receive a Compassionate Allowance. Compassionate Allowances are designed to help those who are clearly disabled start receiving Social Security Disability benefits sooner. In most cases, if your condition qualifies you for a Compassionate Allowance, your Social Security Disability benefits will be approved in about three weeks, allowing you to start receiving payments shortly thereafter.

Compassionate Allowances are also available for several children’s conditions such as Canavan Disease. Parents with children who have been diagnosed with Canavan Disease will find the following information helpful when applying for Social Security Disability programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

Canavan Disease- Condition and Symptoms

Canavan disease is an inherited genetic disorder that affects the central nervous system. It strikes during infancy, and is usually fatal by the age of four. There is no known cure, and as of this writing, there is not even a viable treatment. At this point, doctors merely treat the symptoms of Canavan disease.

When Canavan disease strikes a child, it causes the brain’s white matter to fill with tiny spaces filled with fluid and to become spongy. It also affects the growth and development of the nerve fibers’ fatty covering.

Canavan disease usually shows in the early part of infancy. Its symptoms include retardation, feeding problems, enlarged head, poor control of the head, loss of motor skills which the child had previously developed, and floppy or stiff muscle tone. In some cases, children may also become blind, deaf, or paralyzed. Children with Canavan disease typically become withdrawn, apathetic and quiet.

Canavan affects both genders equally, and can strike children of any racial or ethnic group. However, there is a greater frequency of Canavan disease amongst Arabian children and children of Eastern European descent.

When doctors suspect Canavan disease (typically because of a combination of low muscle tone, large head, and head lag), they generally use a combination of CT scan, MRI, and urine tests to confirm their suspicions. If Canavan disease is still believed to be the problem, they will confirm this with a full analysis of the child’s gene sequence.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Canavan Disease

If your child has been diagnosed with Canavan disease, your first stop should be to the Social Security Administration and your second should be to pursue the health help of a Social Security Disability attorney. However, this isn’t because you’re likely to have any trouble getting your claim accepted. Canavan disease qualifies for a Compassionate Allowance, so you should have little trouble receiving an approval of your claim.

However, if you’re like most people who are dealing with the realities of raising a child with the kinds of special needs brought on by Canavan disease, you need to start receiving your Social Security Disability benefits sooner rather than later. Qualifying for programs such as SSI and Medicaid (which begins immediately with Compassionate Allowance cases) can make all the difference in the quality of care you are able to give to your child.

Having an experienced Social Security Disability attorney go over your claim paperwork and the medical documentation can insure that you don’t end up waiting for benefits due to incomplete paperwork or improper wording, either in your statements or your doctor’s.

Your Canavan Disease Social Security Disability Case

Statistics clearly show that the chances of a Social Security Disability case being accepted during the initial claim improve dramatically when you are represented by a Social Security Disability lawyer. Even in cases of obvious disability, such as Canavan disease, having legal representation just makes sense. For some, it makes the difference between receiving their first benefit checks within a month and wrestling with the appeals system until after they have lost their child to Canavan disease.

The Compassionate Allowance program was initiated for people in situations just like yours. The key is to make sure that the documentation says what it needs to say in order for it to be flagged by the SSA’s system.