A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is devastating at virtually any age. However, when it strikes someone in their 40s or 50s or even younger, it can rob them of years or even decades of pursuing their career. It can leave them unable to hold any kind of job that would support them – let alone a family. This is known as early-onset (or younger-onset) Alzheimer’s disease.
Most people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are already retired or at least old enough to access their Social Security retirement benefits. However, if your early-onset Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia eventually interferes with your ability to work, you can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under their Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative.
What kinds of cognitive disorders might qualify?
Other types of dementia besides early-onset Alzheimer’s that qualify for SSDI benefits under CAL include:
- Adult-onset Huntington disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
- Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)
- Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
This is not a comprehensive list, so it’s important to find out whether the type of dementia you or a loved one has qualified under the CAL initiative. Those who qualify under this program go through an expedited approval process.
However, even if your condition isn’t included, that doesn’t mean you still can’t qualify for SSDI as long as you have a long enough work history and are now unable to support yourself. If you haven’t been in the workforce long enough to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to get Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) if your financial situation qualifies you.
Even with a dementia condition, you can’t assume that your application will be approved or that you may not experience a delay. Dementia can progress quickly or very slowly. People often have good days and bad days.
Therefore, proving its effect on your ability to work can be a challenge. It can help to have experienced legal guidance to help ensure that your application is approved the first time so that you can start getting the compensation you need as soon as possible.