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Early onset Alzheimer's and Social Security Disability

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's in a loved one is always devastating. However, when it occurs to someone who is under 65, the grief and shock are even greater. It can happen to someone who may be at the peak of his or her career and earning ability.

This means that in addition to watching a loved one lose themselves to the disease, family members of Alzheimer's patients must also worry about money. Not only do they need to cope with the lost income as the patient becomes unable to work, but they also need to deal with the added financial burden of having a family member who can no longer take care for himself or herself.

Help is available in the form of Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If Alzheimer's patients have worked and paid into the Social Security system, they can qualify for benefits when they become unable to work because of the disease. They may also be eligible for retroactive benefits that cover up to 12 months from the time of their diagnosis before they applied for payments.

The process of obtaining SSD benefits for early onset Alzheimer's has become easier since the government added early onset Alzheimer's to its list of compassionate allowances. Applications for SSD benefits for early onset Alzheimer's and many other conditions are fast-tracked through the system to speed up the review and decision-making process.

Qualifying for SSD benefits also makes the Alzheimer's patient eligible for Medicare benefits earlier than would otherwise be the case - two years after the diagnosis rather than waiting for age 65. However, Medicare does not usually pay for long-term nursing home or assisted living care, creating additional financial burdens for families.

If your loved one has become unable to work because of early onset Alzheimer's and you are thinking about applying for Social Security Disability for him or her, do what so many others have done. Call Binder & Binder®, American's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you.

Source: Kiplinger, "Planning for Alzheimer's," by Kimberly Lankford, April 2013. 

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