How to Get Social Security Disability Benefits If You Have Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Lou Gehrig's Disease Diagnosis and StethoscopeAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a condition that impacts the nervous system and spinal cord.

People with ALS may first notice muscle twitching, muscle weakness, or slurred speech. These symptoms progress to loss of muscle control, leaving people without the ability to breathe, eat, speak, or move independently.

Currently, there is no known cure for this devastating condition. The average length of time from diagnosis to death is only three years. However, about 20 percent of people live more than five years after diagnosis, about 10 percent of people live 10 years after diagnosis, and about five percent of people live 20 or more years after an ALS diagnosis.

Social Security Disability for ALS

It is undisputed that ALS is a disabling condition that is likely to result in death. ALS is included on the Social Security Administration’s List of Compassionate Allowances. To get disability benefits, you must still complete a Social Security disability application. However, the Social Security Administration’s decision may be expedited because the condition is on the Compassionate Allowances List, and you may be able to get Medicare benefits much sooner than you otherwise could.

ALS Listing of Impairments

Section 11.10 of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments allows people with ALS to qualify for Social Security disability benefits as long as their diagnosis is confirmed by clinical and laboratory findings. The Social Security Administration elaborates on its ALS evaluation process in Section 11.00(O).

According to the Social Security Administration:

  • The documentation you provide of your diagnosis must be based on generally accepted methods of diagnosis consistent with prevailing medical knowledge and clinical practice.
  • You must provide laboratory testing to establish your diagnosis if the clinical findings of upper and lower motor neuron disease are not present in three or more regions.
  • Electrophysiological studies, like nerve conduction velocity studies and electromyography (EMG), may be useful to support your diagnosis.

Until 2004, Social Security disability applicants with ALS had to show certain disabling signs before they received benefits, but that is no longer required.

Build a Strong Case for Social Security Disability Eligibility

Our Social Security disability lawyers will help you present a strong Social Security disability application by making sure that:

  • Your ALS diagnosis is documented in your medical records.
  • Your medical records include an examination by a neurologist.
  • Your medical records also 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 are certified by your doctor’s office.
  • Your application is complete and meets all of the technical requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration.

Getting approved for Social Security disability in Massachusetts should be a seamless process. Unfortunately, it does not always work that way, and many people in need of benefits get denied.

If you have already received a denial of Social Security disability benefits, then we can also help you. You likely need to file an appeal in Providence, Manchester, Boston, or Springfield. Our attorneys have experience preparing and arguing appeals in all of these Social Security offices.

Maximize Your Chances of Social Security Disability Approval

You shouldn’t suffer a denial of Social Security disability benefits because of a mistake. Lou Gehrig’s disease is much too severe for that. Instead, you deserve to get the benefits that you’ve earned by paying into the Social Security system.

Our lawyers know that you need help right now. We answer the phone when our clients call, and we don’t make people wait and wonder if they will get a call back. We are not a national law firm. Instead, we concentrate on helping people in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

We want to help you get the benefits that you’ve earned. Call us or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced New England Social Security disability attorneys.

 

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