The Social Security Administration (SSA) is set to remove the standard five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Removing this waiting period will help ALS patients to receive SSDI benefits more quickly, helping them to deal with their condition. These changes affect any current or future SSDI applicant with ALS who applied for disability benefits as of July 23, 2020.
What is the Five-Month Waiting Period?
By default, anyone who applies for SSDI benefits must wait five months between when disability benefits are initially granted and when they may receive benefits. In effect, this means they do not begin receiving benefits until the sixth full month after they have been approved for SSDI. This is meant to ensure disability benefits do not go to those who have short-term disabilities that do not require extended economic support.
What is ALS?
ALS is a degenerative neuromuscular condition with no known cause or cure. It is often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease after the baseball player who was famously diagnosed with the condition. People who suffer from ALS gradually lose control over their muscles due to the breakdown of nerve cells that control them. This initially manifests as otherwise unexplained muscle weakness, which becomes more severe over time and eventually results in a complete loss of mobility.
How Does This New Measure Help?
Unlike other SSDI recipients, anyone with ALS applying for SSDI benefits will not need to wait to begin receiving disability benefits. It also means they do not need to worry as much about covering cost of living expenses, due to support they can receive from Social Security and other government benefits. Given that there are 20,000 people diagnosed with ALS every year, this has the potential to help many people get their benefits sooner.
In addition, this has the effect of allowing them to receive Medicare benefits much more quickly, if their eligibility for Medicare is tied to their disability diagnosis. This can help to mitigate the costs of treating ALS, which will follow them for the rest of their lives. While it is no cure, this can ease the burden on ALS patients and their families, taking some of the economic burden off of their backs.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.