In a July 2012 press release, the Social Security disability program announced the addition of adult onset Huntington’s disease to its Compassionate Allowances program. Individuals who have this disease can now take advantage of the expedited disability claim process and begin to receive benefits much sooner than ever before.

Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), made the important announcement on July 13. He remarked, “Woody Guthrie, the composer of ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ among hundreds of other folk classics, suffered and died from Huntington’s disease, a progressive and always fatal disease of the brain that affects nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. Tomorrow, July 14, would be his 100th birthday, and thus it is a fitting time for this announcement.”

So, what does this mean for disabled patients with Huntington’s disease? 

  • Adults with Huntington’s disease will be able to apply for Social Security disability under the Compassionate Allowances program by the end of 2012. 
  • The SSA began accepting expedited disability claims for juvenile Huntington’s disease in August 2012.
  • Anyone with a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease will be considered now under the Compassionate Allowances program, which identifies medical conditions that always qualify as disabling. 

Louise Vetter, chief executive officer of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), called the inclusion of this condition “an important victory for our families.” She noted that HDSA has been advocating for a Compassionate Allowances designation for Huntington’s disease since the inception of the program in 2007. 

The disability benefit specialists at Keefe Disability Law applaud the SSA’s addition of this serious and debilitating condition to the Compassionate Allowances program. If you or a loved one is a New England patient with Huntington’s disease and want more information, please contact us today. We work hard every day to help New England residents win their SSA disability claims.

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer
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