Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often called Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurological disease that affects the nerve cells that control voluntary muscle movements. Loss of voluntary muscle movement eventually impacts one’s ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. About 1,000 people with ALS apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits on an annual basis.
A new law passed this year by the Social Security Administration (SSA) helps get ALS claims processed even faster. However, the new law does not make the application process easier, and it does not affect disability determination procedures. ALS applicants must still meet the basic requirements for SSDI.
Schmidt Kramer is available to help you obtain disability benefits. Our initial consultations come at no cost, risk or obligation to you. We charge zero upfront fees to hire our firm. Find out what services we have been able to provide to disability applicants over the years by visiting our client reviews page.
Call (717) 510-1770 to get started today.
Five-Month Waiting Period Has Been Eliminated
Generally, if your application for SSDI is approved, you must wait five months before you can begin receiving benefits. The first benefit payment is issued the sixth full month after the date the SSA finds that your disability began. The purpose of the five-month waiting period is to make sure that your condition is expected to last a year or more or result in death. This is part of the SSA’s requirements.
Most people who have worked are eligible for SSDI, but the application process can be very long. Waiting five months after being approved can be devastating for people with ALS and their loved ones.
The life expectancy of a person with ALS averages about two to five years from the date of diagnosis. A person’s health can rapidly worsen over this time and there is no current cure. Not being able to work due to muscle weakness and eventual loss of mobility can become a financial burden to ALS applicants.
The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 has now eliminated the SSDI five-month waiting period for ALS claims. The new law impacts ALS applicants approved for benefits on or after July 23, 2020.
Previous efforts have included getting ALS covered under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program so that applications are expedited for approval in a matter of weeks.
Ways New Law Benefits ALS Applicants
Eliminating the five-month waiting period allows ALS applicants to get SSDI benefits quicker to help them deal with their condition. The SSA has made ALS claims processing even faster. Award notices used to be manually prepared and then sent to a processing center, which took a significant amount of time.
Now, the process is entirely electronic. An ALS claim filed online can be processed within several days versus weeks or even months if adequate medical evidence was provided.
ALS applicants approved for benefits also do not have to worry as much about covering the cost of living expenses based on the support they could receive from Social Security and other government benefits.
Additional Benefits for People with ALS
Although SSDI recipients are automatically eligible for Medicare benefits, the SSA imposes a two-year waiting period from when recipients are approved and when they can begin receiving Medicare.
The new law, however, helps waive this waiting period for Medicare coverage. People with ALS can obtain Medicare benefits much faster and more efficiently. Eligibility for this program is linked to an applicant’s disability diagnosis. ALS is hard to diagnose since it mimics other neurological diseases.
Getting Medicare coverage sooner can help mitigate the costs of ALS treatment and further alleviate the financial burden for people with ALS and their loved ones.
Call for Assistance Filing Your Claim Today
For help obtaining disability benefits, reach out to a Harrisburg Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm to get started. Contact our offices to set up a completely free and confidential consultation. You are under no obligation after this meeting to retain our services, so there is no risk to you.
We also charge no upfront fees. You are charged no fees unless we help you obtain disability benefits.
Licensed. Local. Lawyers. (717) 510-1770.