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Can Floridians get SSD benefits for early-onset Alzheimer’s?

Floridians are well aware of the issues that surround a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and how the person suffering from it will likely need assistance through Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for illness. The disease itself is inextricably connected to those over a certain age — mostly elderly people. However, it sometimes occurs with people who are younger. This is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. It is possible for a person suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s to receive SSD benefits, if they meet the criteria according to federal regulations.

For people under the age of 65 who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, it is known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. This occurs in an estimated 5 to 10 percent of those who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. It is a disease that affects the brain and is degenerative and irreversible. People who suffer from it will gradually lose their cognitive abilities and will have issues with memory, language and judgment. Essentially, sufferers will not be able to function normally. This disease starts slowly with a problem with memory, and the sufferer slowly loses the ability to learn and communicate.

Those who are under the age of 65 will generally still be working, so it will often reduce the person’s ability to perform various work functions. People who have this disease will frequently experience depression. Later, they might be restless, have behavioral changes, and withdraw.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s sufferers will decline faster than those who have it at a later age. The diagnosis is made through a study of the family’s history and the patient’s cognitive abilities, as well as through other methods. There is not a lab test that can diagnose early-onset Alzheimer’s. A brain biopsy will confirm if this is the condition the person is suffering from.

There is a steady decline until the person dies. A person with Alzheimer’s usually dies from the body wasting away, malnutrition or pneumonia. After early-onset Alzheimer’s has been diagnosed, the person will live an average of 8 to 10 years. It is likely that the person will need to be placed in an institution.

Those who have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s or have a family member who has been diagnosed might not know that it is possible to receive SSD because of it. Speaking to a legal professional experienced in helping clients receive disability benefits can provide more information to pursuing a claim.

Source: SSA.gov, “DI 23022.385 Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease,” accessed on Oct. 27, 2015

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