Everyday People Matter

New Law Provides for Expedited Disability Benefits for ALS Patients

On Behalf of | May 10, 2021 | ALS

New federal legislation from December 2020 provides great relief for patients who suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The law waives off the 5 -month mandatory waiting period for persons to begin receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Strongly supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association and a number of other groups, the bill eliminates the mandatory waiting period for recipients to begin receiving Social Security disability benefits. According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the group is hopeful that this law will pave the way for similar such waivers and concessions granted to persons who suffer from other types of neuromuscular conditions.

In most cases, a person who suffers from ALS dies between 2 to 5 years after being diagnosed with the disease. However, in some cases, patients may live for as long as 10 years after the onset of symptoms. Supporters of the bill argued that it was too much to expect a person suffering from ALS to wait a further 5 months to begin receiving benefits. In many cases, persons who suffer from ALS are already experiencing a worsening of their symptoms by the time their claim for disability benefits is approved.  By the time, a complete diagnosis of ALS is made, the person’s symptoms may have worsened, causing serious disability and inability to work.

Patients and their families suffer immensely both financially and emotionally when the patient loses his or her ability to earn a living. This law reduces some of that suffering by making it possible for recipients to receive their disability benefits sooner.