Huntington disease is a very rare genetic condition that is found in approximately three to seven out of every 100,000 people. Of all cases of Huntington disease, the juvenile onset form of the condition accounts for approximately 10 percent of all cases that are diagnosed. Being the most severe form of the disease, this condition has now been included in the listing of conditions that qualify a disability applicant for processing under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines. This means that children who are diagnosed with this disorder may qualify for benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years for benefits to begin like most Social Security Disability applicants. If your child has been diagnosed with juvenile onset Huntington disease and you are wondering how the disease may qualify your child for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, the following information will help.
Juvenile Onset Huntington Disease Condition and Symptoms
A diagnosis of juvenile onset Huntington disease is given when an individual is diagnosed before the age of 20. This form of the disease only makes up approximately 10 percent of all cases diagnosed. Most cases of Huntington disease are diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50 years of age. In most cases of juvenile onset Huntington disease symptoms begin to appear around the time of puberty. There have, however, been cases reported in children under four years of age.
Huntington disease affects certain areas of the brain that result in a variety of disabling symptoms. While symptoms can vary from case to case, the most common symptoms include dementia, movement disorders, cognitive and behavioral changes, difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking, stiffness of the arms and legs, clumsiness of the arms and legs, seizures and changes in oral motor function. As a child becomes older other symptoms may appear such as attention deficits, behavioral disorders, issues in school, dystonia and tremors. As children become older, the symptoms become progressively worse.
Juvenile onset Huntington disease is an inherited disorder. The disease is caused by a mutation in the number of repetitions of the C, A and G nucleotides in exon 1 of the Huntington gene. In a normal, healthy person there are normally 15 to 30 repeats of these nucleotides. In those who have been diagnosed with juvenile onset Huntington disease the number of repeats increases to 40 or more.
The condition is caused by an inherited defect in a single gene. The condition is inherited in an autosomal dominant disorder, meaning that a person needs to only inherit one copy of the defective gene in order for the condition to develop.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Juvenile Onset Huntington Disease
Each and every year the Social Security Administration receives approximately 3 million claims for Social Security Disability benefits. Approximately 70 percent of these claims are denied during the initial stage of the application process. These denied applicants must appeal the SSA’s decision to deny their benefits if they hope to receive benefits in the future. Unfortunately, each appeal adds to the backlog of appeals that are already in the Social Security system. Fortunately, in the case of conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances processing, approval times are much timelier and Compassionate Allowances appeals, if necessary, are given priority over the standard appeals in the system. Fortunately the SSA has recognized the fact that those with juvenile onset Huntington disease warrant expedited processing of their disability claims and the condition has been included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings.
Even though juvenile onset Huntington disease has been included as one of the conditions that qualify for Compassionate Allowances processing, you must still be sure to properly fill out the disability claim forms when filing for benefits. You must provide thorough and detailed answers to all of the questions asked on the forms and must provide sufficient medical evidence to support your case in order for your child’s claim to be approved. If you fail to properly fill out the claim forms or provide the necessary medical evidence, your child’s claim for benefits may be delayed or denied, resulting in the need for a disability appeal.
Juvenile Onset Huntington Disease and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you hope to have your child’s disability claim approved as quickly as possible, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a disability attorney prior to filing your child’s disability claim. A Social Security Disability attorney can ensure that your child’s disability claim forms are properly filled out and are submitted in such a way that the SSA understands the severity of your child’s condition and how it qualifies for processing under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances guidelines.
Disability attorneys work on a contingency basis, collecting 25 percent of any back pay that your child is awarded (up to a maximum limit of $6,000). So, for example, if your child were awarded $4,000 in back pay your attorney would receive $1,000 of that amount. This means that you do not have to come up with any money up front when retaining the services of such a professional.
When you work with a disability attorney, your attorney will ensure that your child’s disability claim is submitted to the SSA in the best light possible, reducing the likelihood that the claim will be denied and that you will have to undergo the disability appeal process. If done properly, you may be able to have your child qualified for disability benefits in a matter of weeks.