If you are younger than 65 and are diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's or any other dementia related disease, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
In February 2010 The Social Security Administration added some dementia ailments to the Compassionate Allowance Initiative. This is supposed to expedite the process of being accepted for benefits. Acceptance by SSDI will provide a monthly income for those who are not old enough for Social Security and are victims of these maladies. It will also automatically qualify them for Medicaid. (Keep in mind that Medicaid does not kick in until 24 months after the date the application was first submitted.)
Personally, I find this waiting period deplorable! There's no telling how fast and far the disease will have advanced during this delay. These people need proper medical assistance now!
The Compassion Allowance applies to several types of dementia. For instance: Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Creutz-Jakob Disease, Primary Progressive Aphasia and what are called "mixed dementias," such as Parkinson's Disease Dementia, Vascular Dementia, Lewy Body Dementia and several more. These illnesses are caused by multiple etiologies.
To apply for SSDI, contact the Social Security Administration. Call and set up an appointment at (800) 772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov
If for some reason you get turned down, there is another route which can be taken. You may choose to hire a disability attorney or an SSDI representative to assist you with the application and filing.
Another interesting avenue was described to me when I recently spoke with a woman who said her mother was denied. In her case, she contacted her local congressman who helped her immensely.
You will need the proper paperwork containing your diagnosis, so before you start this process, speak with your doctor and gather all of the information regarding the diagnosis. Unfortunately, one slight mistake on the application and you may find yourself starting all over again.
Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father for a decade after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He can be reached at email@example.com. His newly released book "Managing Alzheimer's and Dementia Behaviors," "While I Still Can" and the expanded edition of "Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness," can be found at www.commonsensecaregiving.com.