There are currently an estimated 5.3 million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. Although the majority of Alzheimer cases are individuals age 65 and older, a significant number of people under age 65 are also affected by this disease, and have few financial options other than the Social Security disability program.
Early-Onset Alzheimer’s womanIn its effort to improve and expedite the disability determination process, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that it will add early-onset Alzheimer’s disease to its Compassionate Allowances Initiative. The initiative identifies debilitating diseases and medical conditions that meet the SSA’s disability standards for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Inclusion in the initiative allows for faster payment of Social Security benefits to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association has commended the SSA for understanding that the cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer’s disease leaves individuals unable to maintain gainful employment, and that they are deserving of an expedited disability determination.
The Alzheimer’s Association worked closely with the SSA to seek the inclusion of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Says Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, “Now, individuals who are dealing with the enormous challenges of Alzheimer’s won’t also have to endure the financial and emotional toll of a long disability decision process.”