The Social Security Administration receives millions of claims for disability benefits each and every year. While many of these claims are filed by disabled workers, some are filed on the behalf of children who are born with severely debilitating medical conditions. It used to be that it would take the parents of these children many months, if not years, to complete the Social Security Disability claim process. Now, thanks to the Compassionate Allowances program, these parents may be able to get benefits approved for their child in a matter of weeks. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is one of the conditions that qualify a disability claim for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. If your child has been diagnosed with this condition, the following information will help you understand how the condition may qualify your child for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome - Condition and Symptoms
Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, also known as Progeria and/or Progeria syndrome, is a very rare genetic condition that affects only one in every 8 million children born. Children who are born with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome are marked by premature aging of the affected individual. Symptoms usually develop during infancy. The disease is progressive and gets worse as the child ages. Symptoms of the disease include limited growth, full-body alopecia, a small face, pinched nose, wrinkled skin, hair loss, vision loss, kidney failure, a small fragile body and cardiovascular complications. These symptoms progressively get worse as the child gets older.
As a child suffering from Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome ages, he or she will experience musculoskeletal degeneration, loss of body fat and muscle deterioration. Stiff joints, hip problems and other symptoms normally seen in the elderly population also appear. Although the bodies of children with this condition age prematurely, most children maintain moral mental development.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and most children who are born with the condition do not live past their twenties.
The exact cause of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is not known. While the disease is genetic in nature, it is not inherited. The disease is associated with the body’s LMNA gene. In normal, healthy children this gene creates a protein that attaches to the rim of the cell’s nucleus and then detaches. In children with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, the protein does not detach. This interrupts the normal aging process of the body and causes the body to age more rapidly.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome
Recently the Social Security Administration has been adding new conditions to its listing of conditions that can qualify a claim for processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is one of the conditions that now qualify an applicant for expedited claim processing under these guidelines. It is important to note, however, that just because the condition is included in the Compassionate Allowances listing, this does not guarantee an automatic approval of your child’s disability claim.
If your child is to qualify for disability benefits, you must be able to prove the severity of your child’s condition. This can be accomplished by properly completing the disability claim forms and providing the SSA with sufficient medical evidence to support your case. Medical evidence provided may include medical records, lab results, treatment histories and written statements from treating physicians. These records, combined with the answers you provide on the Social Security Disability claim forms will be what the SSA uses when determining whether or not to approve your child for disability benefits.
Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and Your Disability Case
If you are applying for disability benefits for your child due to a case of Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, you may want to enlist the help of a disability attorney before you submit your application. In order for your application to be approved during the initial stage of the application process, all claim paperwork must be filled out properly and you must provide the proper medical evidence. Working with an attorney who is familiar with this process can increase your chances of being awarded benefits during the initial stage of the application process, thereby avoiding the need of a disability appeal.
When you work with a disability attorney, your attorney can go over your application paperwork with you, ensuring that all answers are provided properly. In addition, he or she can help you gather the medical evidence that will be needed to support your child’s disability claim. If, for some reason, your initial claim for benefits is denied, a disability attorney can ensure that the appeal is handled properly and that it is given priority as a Compassionate Allowances appeal.