Then there are the conditions that are notoriously difficult to diagnose like lupus or multiple sclerosis. I've had cases where people have been diagnosed with lupus for over a decade only to have the diagnosis questioned by medical experts at their hearings. Fibromyalgia is usually diagnosed when all other possible explanations have been excluded. Even if you don't have a final diagnosis yet, you still want to keep track of your symptoms and ask your doctor if he thinks you should be on disability. Lupus, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia all have times when they are much worse than others called flare-ups. You need to keep track of your flare-ups - what happens, how long the flare-up lasts and how often they come. If you can't work during a flare-up we need to know what to expect.
Finally, we have a couple of conditions where a diagnosis actually is enough. ALS also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, or the reason people were throwing buckets of ice on themselves all summer, is a bad enough disease that Social Security will approve you just on the diagnosis. It's called a compassionate allowance. The list of compassionate allowances has expanded recently. You can find the list here. Also included is some severe forms of cancer, early onset Alzheimers* and Huntington's Disease. If you qualify for a compassionate allowance, your case is expedited and you can avoid some of the paperwork involved in applying for Social Security. You can receive benefits in about one to two months. If you have any of the conditions on the compassionate allowance list just let Social Security know when you apply.
The important thing to remember when thinking about applying for Social Security benefits is whether you work eight hours a day, five days a week doing any sort of work. We don't look at only one diagnosis. We look at the whole person. Usually my clients have several conditions at once that help them get disability. When applying, really think about any condition you might have that affects your ability to work, even if it's something as simple as an allergy to pollen or a medication that make you sunburn easily. If it would keep you from working a job, even if it's not a job you did in the past, you need to include that medical condition.
If you have any questions about how Social Security works, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231 or toll-free at (844)303-0735.
*Because if it's not early onset, you're over 67 and old enough to receive retirement benefits and not disability benefits.