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Nov 2, 2009 2:00 PM  CST  

Government Weighs Quicker Disability Qualification for Early-Onset Dementia 

As the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers adding early-onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias--a term that refers to individuals under age 65--to its list of conditions that qualify for speedier access to disability insurance, AFA has weighed in in support of the proposal.


According to the SSA, so-called Compassionate Allowances enables it "to quickly target the most obviously disabled individuals for allowances based on objective medical information that it can obtain quickly," thus accelerating the application process for them. It has selected 50 conditions to date and has been holding public hearings on some other diseases, including one recently about early-onset dementia.


In a letter of support, AFA noted that the change is warranted, in part, by the significant number of individuals with early-onset dementia as well as the additional issues they often face due to their younger age. For example, they are less likely to be diagnosed in the early stage because healthcare providers generally don't look for the disease in younger people; and many are still working when symptoms emerge and are typically forced to give up work and other responsibilities due to their declining cognitive functioning.


"Qualifying quickly for disability benefits would allow the individual and families to avoid denial after denial because this [for example] 44 year old man 'looks good' or does not fit into the definition of disability," AFA said. "The Compassionate Allowance would help bypass this delay and help affected individuals move towards managing the new diagnosis and planning for the future."


From Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

e-Newsletter, Volume 2, Issue 18

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Source: Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA). For more information about the AFA, visit them online at: or call them at 1-866-232-8484. Alzheimer’s Family Services is a proud member of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

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