Lissencephaly and Social Security Disability

Lissencephaly is a rare brain disorder that develops during gestation. Infants who are born with the disorder suffer from an array of debilitating symptoms. As such, it is not uncommon for a parent with a child who has been diagnosed with the disorder to leave work to care for the child. This can result in significant financial hardship. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help. While most disability applications are filed by disabled adult workers who are no longer able to maintain employment, some are filed on behalf of children who suffer from conditions such as lissencephaly. Recently, this condition was added to the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances listings, allowing those who suffer from the disease to be approved in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin. If your child has been diagnosed with lissencephaly, the following information will help you understand how your child may qualify for disability benefits more quickly under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program.

Lissencephaly - Condition and Symptoms

Lissencephaly develops during fetal development, usually between the 12th and 24th week of gestation. During this time the fetus experiences defective neuronal migration. This results in a lack of folds within the brain.

Children who are born with lissencephaly suffer from severe motor impairment, seizures, muscle spasticity, muscle hypotonia, facial abnormalities, difficulty swallowing, abnormalities of the limbs, fingers and toes and failure to thrive.

The children who are born with the disorder often do not live beyond the first months of life. As such, waiting months or years for Social Security Disability approval is not an option. This is why the condition now qualifies under Compassionate Allowances processing, allowing an applicant to be approved for disability benefits in a matter of weeks.

There are a number of factors that may cause lissencephaly. Some cases of the disease can be caused by viral infections contracted during the first trimester of pregnancy. Insufficient blood supply to the brain of the fetus during early pregnancy can also lead to the condition. In some cases, the condition can also be caused by genetics. A mutation of the reelin gene as well as other genes has been linked to the development of the disorder.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Lissencephaly

This year alone the Social Security Administration is expected to receive approximately 3 million claims for disability benefits. Of these applicants, a mere 30 percent will be approved during the initial stage of the application process. The remaining 70 percent of applicants will have to pursue a disability appeal – a process that can take more than two years to complete. Because lissencephaly is now included in the Compassionate Allowances listings, applicants who are applying for disability benefits based on this condition do not have to worry about the standard disability claim procedure.

It is important to note, however, that just because a person qualifies for claim processing under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines, this does not mean that they will receive an automatic approval of their disability claim. If you hope to receive benefits for your child in a timely manner, you must be sure to fill out the disability claim forms properly and ensure that you provide the SSA with sufficient medical evidence in order to support your claim. If the answers on the claim forms are lacking or if you do not furnish enough medical evidence, your claim will be denied and you will need to pursue a disability appeal.

Lissencephaly and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits for a child who has been diagnosed with lissencephaly, you may want to consider retaining the services of a disability attorney. By working with an attorney you can ensure that your claim paperwork is properly filled out and presented to the SSA in the best light possible.

A disability lawyer can also ensure that your disability claim forms are submitted in such a way that the SSA understands the nature of the claim and how you or your child may qualify for benefits under the Compassionate Allowances guidelines. This will help you receive your benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin.

If your initial claim for benefits is denied you will need to pursue a disability appeal. Fortunately, priority is given to appeals that are based on Compassionate Allowances claims.