Alzheimer’s disease isn’t exclusively a condition that affects those 65 and over. Sometimes it strikes people earlier in life. Those who are diagnosed with the disease in their 40s or 50s are considered to have early-onset (or younger-onset) Alzheimer’s. People in their 30s have even been diagnosed with it.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is no longer able to work. However, it is still a progressive disease. Therefore, at some point, a person with Alzheimer’s likely will have to stop working – or at least have to step away from the job they’ve been doing.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s and related dementias qualify for Compassionate Allowances
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s or some kind of related dementia, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative. These related dementia conditions include (but aren’t limited to):
- Lewy body dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
- Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)
- Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP)
- Adult-onset Huntington disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
Because they’re included in SSDI’s CAL initiative, people with these conditions are eligible for an expedited approval process.
You still have to be able to qualify for SSDI benefits. That means you must have had some years in the workforce. The amount of your benefits is based on how much you’ve paid into the system. If you don’t have enough work history to qualify for SSDI, you may be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) if you meet the program’s financial needs criteria.
Even with a condition like Alzheimer’s disease, there’s no guarantee that your application for SSDI will proceed smoothly. If you’re having difficulty getting the SSDI benefits you need and deserve, it may be wise to seek legal guidance.