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Social Security adds adult Huntington's to Compassionate Allowances list

Huntington's disease is a degenerative and fatal disease of the brain that affects roughly 30,000 Americans. Dealing with this disease can be burdensome, as it has a broad impact on the victim's functional abilities and usually results in motor, cognitive and psychiatric disorders. Most people with the condition notice signs in their 40s or 50s, but onset can occur earlier, sometimes before the age of 20, in which case it is considered juvenile Huntington's disease.

Earlier this summer, the Social Security Administration announced that it will be adding symptomatic Huntington's disease to its Compassionate Allowances program for adults by the end of the year. The Compassionate Allowances program allows Social Security to quickly identify disease and other medical conditions that inevitably qualify under the statutory standard for disability.

The standard process of determining whether a condition qualifies as a disability involves much documentation and research, and typically takes a good amount of time to complete. Among the considerations in this process are whether the applicant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity, the severity of the condition, and the ability of the applicant to perform work they've done in the past.

The program allows those suffering with a disease or condition listed on the Compassionate Allowances list to have their application expedited, so that they can receive benefits more quickly. Sometimes decisions can be made within days instead of months or years.

Both adult Huntington's disease and juvenile Huntington's disease are on the Compassionate Allowances list.

Source: ssa.gov, "Press Release: Social Security to Add Adult Huntington's Disease to Compassionate Allowances Program," July 13, 2012

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