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Social Security holds fourth hearing on early-onset Alzheimer’s disease

Social Security held the agency’s fourth public hearing on compassionate allowances for early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Commissioner of Social Security Michael J. Astrue was joined by Marie A. Bernard, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, and other Social Security officials. Testimony was heard from some of the nation’s leading experts on early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias about possible methods for identifying and implementing compassionate allowances for people with earlyonset Alzheimer’s.

“This year, through compassionate allowances and our quick disability determination process, over 100,000 Americans with severe disabilities will be approved for Social Security disability benefits in a matter of days rather than the months and years it can sometimes take,” said Astrue. “We are now looking to add more diseases and impairments to these expedited processes. We are expanding our focus from specific rare diseases and cancers to look at subgroups of much broader conditions. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is a rapidly progressive and debilitating disease of the brain that affects individuals between the ages of 50 and 65 and clearly deserves our consider ation.”

In October 2008, Social Security launched compassionate allowances to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants with medical conditions so severe that their conditions by definition meet Social Security’s standards.

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