Patients with ALS are eligible for Social Security disability benefits and Social Security Insurance (SSI) under the category of impairments known as Neurological – Medical Listing 11.10. Until 2004, patients with ALS had to show certain disabling signs before they could be approved for disability benefits for ALS. These signs included difficulty in chewing, swallowing, and speaking, inability to use both arms, and inability to walk effectively.
Some patients were denied SSDI and had to go through the time-consuming SSDI appeal process. One example is John Hunter of Litchfield, Ohio. Hunter’s initial SSDI application was denied because he was still walking. Before his death, Hunter became an activist for SSDI reform.
In 2004, the Social Security Administration changed the requirements for SSDI and SSI approval for ALS. Applicants with ALS were granted expedited application processing. SSI applicants were allowed to receive immediate SSI benefits for up to six months while waiting for a decision on their SSI or SSDI application.
In order to receive SSDI or SSI for ALS, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must have a diagnosis of ALS that is documented in your medical records.
- You must have medical records showing an examination by a neurologist.
- Your medical records must include your medical history, neurological findings consistent with the diagnosis of ALS, and the results of any neuroimaging or electrophysiological tests, including blood tests, nerve conduction studies, MRIs of the brain or spinal cord, and EMG (electromyography).
- Your medical records must be certified by your doctor’s office.
In order to be eligible for SSI/SSDI, you may not earn more than $1040 from work. Your age, education, and skills are not considered in the evaluation.
The Social Security Administration recommends that SSI and SSDI applicants with ALS apply for benefits as soon as they are eligible. In some cases, spouses and minor children also may qualify for benefits. You can apply in online, over the phone, or in person at your local Social Security office. If you need help, our Boston SSDI attorneys are available. To schedule an appointment, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.