August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
August is Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) month, and this often disabling disease affects one in 6,000 people. A person suffering from SMA can qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if symptoms are severe enough and are not anticipated to improve for a year.
SMA is a genetic disease that impacts the areas of the body responsible for voluntary movement. In time, SMA damages the spinal cord neurons, resulting in loss of muscle movement, decreased mobility, difficulty breathing and swallowing, among other physical limitations.
Because of the debilitating qualities of this condition, the Social Security Administration (SSA) includes the in its Blue Book of Impairments, which lists a number of conditions that are typically approved for disability benefits.
Severe Types of SMA
SMA is a specific form of muscle atrophy that takes several severe forms. Types 0 and 1 are the most disabling, affecting prenatal babies and infants. Complications involve death, difficulty breathing, sucking and swallowing as muscles lose strength.
These types of SMA are listed on the SSA’s compassionate allowances list, meaning a person diagnosed with this disease will receive expedited disability benefits within weeks.
Less severe types of SMA such as Type 2, 3 and 4 are not listed on the compassionate allowances list, but applicants may receive SSD if their symptoms are so severe they cannot work.
Qualifying for SSD Benefits
If you file for SSD benefits for SMA, it is imperative that you document your disability. Provide medical evidence such as physician’s notes, medical records, number of hospital visits and results of tests.
Tell your doctor if you suffer from non-exertional limitations such as:
- Using your hands to manipulate objects
- Inability to focus due to extreme pain or fatigue
In addition to medical evidence, also obtain written statements from family and friends who are aware of your physical disabilities and include them with your application.
If you have been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, our disability attorneys are available to help you apply for SSD benefits or file an appeal for denied benefits. Contact a Social Security disability lawyer in Phoenix today for a free legal consultation.