Too young to develop Alzheimer's disease?

With early-onset Alzheimer's disease, it difficult to know which would be worse. Not knowing what is wrong and spend months or years dealing with doctors in an effort to find out why you no longer can remember important tasks or dates, or to be told years in advance that you are likely to develop the disease.

Early-onset Alzheimer's disease is such a severe and devastating condition that it is one of the impairments that enables sufferers to obtain Social Security Disability benefits through the Compassionate Allowance initiative, which provided expedited benefits to those diagnosed with a severe impairment.

For any worker, developing such a condition can be devastating. One man began to be unusually forgetful, losing his way home from work and having difficulties at work performing what had been previously simple tasks. When he forgot to pick up his daughter from school one day, his wife sensed that this was no ordinary forgetfulness.

The next struggle was obtaining the diagnosis. Because early-onset Alzheimer's is somewhat unusual, doctors may have little experience diagnosing it. Many doctors may never have examined a patient in the 20s or 30s with the disease, and may treat it as depression or some other condition. Yet it is not exceptionally, rare, with 200,000 Americans younger than age 65 diagnosed with the disease.

In the case of this man, it took two years before the doctors confirmed early-onset Alzheimer's. In addition to losing his job because of the disease and his insurance, his wife also had to quit work to become his caregiver.

This type of diagnosis can be devastating as few people have the financial resources to function in this situation. SSD benefits can be very helpful as the Compassionate Allowance initiative can provide benefit payments within months.

In addition, you will obtain Medicare coverage after you have received 24 months of benefits including your back pay, if any.

None of this will make such a diagnosis less troubling, but it the availability of SSD can be a financial lifeline for you and your family.

Source: workforce.com, "Too Soon to Forget," Rita Pyrillis, April 25, 2016

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