Millions of Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder that destroys brain cells. While Alzheimer’s disease mostly affects people over 65, it is not uncommon for younger people to suffer from the disease; a condition known as early onset of Alzheimer’s.
If you or someone you love is suffering from an early onset of Alzheimer’s, you might be wondering whether you qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers Alzheimer’s disease an impairing condition, suffering from the disease may not automatically qualify you for disability benefits.
Evaluating disability for patients with Alzheimer’s disease
Depending on the stage of the disease, the SSA may not consider you disabled when you are first diagnosed. As the disease progresses, however, you may be considered disabled.
To be eligible for disability benefits, you must prove to the SSA that your condition is impacting your ability to perform your current job or work in another role. Typically, the SSA will look for the following when assessing your case:
- How the disease is affecting your memory, especially short-term memory
- How the disease is affecting your ability to learn new skills
- How the disease is impacting your ability to communicate (listen and engage in a conversation)
- How the disease is affecting your physical functionality (concentrating on an activity)
- How the disease is affecting your social skills (including the ability to care for yourself)
In other words, to qualify for disability benefits due to Alzheimer’s disease, the condition must prevent you from working.
What if your claim is refused?
Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be life-altering. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for the SSA to refuse your disability claims. If this happens, you should not give up. Find out how you can safeguard your rights while pursuing disability claims.