When a disabling disease strikes, whether it’s you or your child, Social Security disability programs are designed to help you with the financial burdens that come from being able to continue working full time. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does have a very narrow definition of disability however, and you must be completely unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity in order to qualify for benefits with most disabling conditions.
In recent years, however, the SSA has recognized that some medical and mental conditions are serious enough that they always qualify those who suffer from them. Originally, the SSA listed 88 conditions which qualify you for what is known as a compassionate allowance. Since then, they have added eight more and are considering adding more.
Qualifying for a compassionate allowance allows you to eliminate much of the red tape typically involved in applying for Social Security disability benefits. In fact, when you qualify for a compassionate allowance, not only do you automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits, but your claim is given a higher priority and considered much faster than other claims. If everything is in order, you can count on receiving Social Security disability benefits within about three weeks of applying.
Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) – Condition and Symptoms
Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) is a disease which damages the central nervous system. The damage caused by the disease is progressive, and leads to a variety of symptoms, including speech problems, heart disease, and muscular weakness. This is caused by the deterioration of nerve tissues in the spine. It also affects the nerves which control major muscle movement in both the arms and the legs.
Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) can show in children as young as eighteen months old, though it most commonly appears in children between five years old and fifteen years old. Often, the first noticeable symptom involves problems walking. As FRDA spreads, it often causes clubfoot, involuntary toe bending, and other foot deformities. Involuntary eye movements, especially if they are fast and rhythmic, may also be a sign of Friedreichs Ataxia.
Other common symptoms which develop as the disease progresses include shortness of breath, chest pains, impaired breathing and scoliosis. In most cases, a person with Friedreichs Ataxia will be wheelchair bound within twenty years of the first noticeable symptoms and further disability and incapacity generally results afterwards. While most with the disease die in their early twenties (usually from heart disease), some have been known to live much longer.
There is no cure for Friedreichs Ataxia, nor is there any kind of treatment to slow down its progression. With that said, though, a good deal can be done to treat most of the symptoms. This includes medication, leg braces, surgery, and physical therapy. While none of these treatments actually reverses or stops the effects of the disease, they can slow down some of the symptoms and allow the FRDA sufferer extended use of their legs and arms.
Because of its clearly debilitating nature, FRDA qualifies for a compassionate allowance from the SSA.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA)
Because of its status as a listing with the compassionate allowance program, people with Friedreichs Ataxia automatically qualify for any Social Security disability benefits they are entitled to. How to go about filing for Social Security disability benefits with FRDA largely depends on whether you are filing on behalf of your child or whether you, as an adult, are filing for Social Security disability based on your own medical condition.
In either case, a diagnosis of FRDA clearly qualifies you (or your dependant child) for Social Security disability. You will want to make sure that all of your claim information is complete and correct, of course, and you will want to make sure that all pertinent medical files have been filled out in detail and that you have copies both for your file and for your personal records.
The best way to make sure everything is handled accurately and competently on your claim is to have a Social Security disability lawyer review your case with you. In most cases, those who suffer from compassionate allowance qualifying diseases such as Friedreichs Ataxia will be accepted right away and will begin receiving benefits within a month.
Your Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA) Social Security Disability Case
While you’re certainly entitled to represent yourself at any stage of the disability proceedings, most claimants who used a Social Security lawyer’s services agree decidedly that having competent counsel takes much of the hassle out of the entire Social Security disability claims and appeals process. Best of all, it won’t cost you anything to have a Social Security attorney look over your case. The attorney will only get paid if you are awarded disability benefits.