Compassionate Allowance - Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

When you or your child has been diagnosed with a serious disorder it can be very frightening. You may be confused about what to do and where to turn for help. You may have wondered if you would be eligible for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). If your disorder is listed as a Compassionate Allowance you can rest assured that you do indeed qualify for disability benefits.

The Compassionate Allowances are a list of rare and severe disorders compiled by the SSA that automatically qualify a person afflicted with such a disorder to receive benefits. Under normal circumstances, applying for benefits is a long process that can take anywhere from three to eighteen months and sometimes longer. Then, even after being approved, you may still have to wait weeks before you are able to start collecting your benefits. The Compassionate Allowances make it so you can go through an expedited process, shrinking the length from months to weeks. Once you are approved, you can start collecting benefits as soon as the next benefit cycle begins. If you are diagnosed with a severe disorder, the SSA recognizes the importance of getting you help sooner rather than later.

Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) – Condition and Symptoms

Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) actually refers to a group of genetic disorders characterized by a gradual increase in difficulty controlling the way a person walks, their speech, and hand and eye movement. If you have SCA, you have progressive brain damage of the areas that help to control these specific movements. Because of this brain damage, the cells that are in charge of these movements atrophy and cause ataxia, or a loss of control. Approximately anywhere from one to four out of every one-hundred thousand people are afflicted with some sort of Spinocerebellar Ataxia.

How quickly the disease progresses is dependent upon the specific gene mutation you have. Also, the earlier you are affected with the disease, the more likely it is to progress rapidly. For instance, with the disorders of SCA1, 2 and 3, it tends to be about 13-15 years before a person is wheelchair dependent, and death often occurs within 20-30 years of diagnosis. On the other hand, SCA6 and SCA11 have a much slower progression, and those with SCA8 usually have what is considered to be a normal lifespan.

At this time, there is no cure for Spinocerebellar Ataxia. There is currently no way to slow its progression. Instead, present treatments deal with relieving the symptoms. Medication can be used to manage problems such as sleeping difficulties and body stiffness. In conjunction, occupational therapy is often used to help the person learn different ways to perform fine motor skills with their disability. This can include everyday activities such as tying shoes and using silverware.

Those who have trouble walking may use canes or walkers, and speech therapy can be used for those with speech difficulties.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

It is bewildering to find out you or a loved one have Spinocerebellar Ataxia. It can be comforting to know that, under the Compassionate Allowances policy, you are automatically qualified to receive disability benefits. This means that the disability application process will be accelerated and that, once approved, you will start to collect your benefits as soon as the next benefits cycle begins. Disability benefits can lessen medical and living expenses for you, particularly if you become unable to work.

While you can feel confident that you will indeed be approved to receive disability benefits if you are diagnosed with Spinocerebellar Ataxia, it is still a wise decision to get in touch with a Social Security disability lawyer. These are professionals who deal exclusively with disability cases. A Social Security disability lawyer has the ability to help you through what can, at times, be an arduous process. Often, a claim becomes delayed or denied because of missing paperwork or incomplete documentation.

When applying for disability with SCA, hereditary Spinocerebellar Ataxia can be proven with molecular genetic testing. However, to show how severe a particular case is, a clinical exam of neurological functioning is necessary. If molecular genetic testing is not available to you, the clinical exam may be adequate. Documents must show that other, treatable possibilities for ataxia have been exhausted.

Your Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA) Social Security Disability Case

Although you can feel positive that your Spinocerebellar Ataxia is a Compassionate Allowance and that you will be approved for benefits, it’s always a smart idea to talk to a Social Security disability lawyer. The disability attorney will review your case and counsel you on your options. If anything, it is a good idea to have a lawyer look over your paperwork to make sure everything is in order. Disability attorneys are not paid unless you are awarded disability benefits. If you are awarded benefits, then your attorney will either receive 25% of your back pay or $6,000, whichever is less.