One way to qualify for social security disability benefits is if your condition meets a compassionate allowance. Compassionate Allowances are conditions for which Social Security has deemed so severe as to require expedited handling and approval. The Social Security Administration has deemed ALS to be one of those severe conditions which if diagnosed you will automatically be found to be disabled. While there is not one specific test to diagnose ALS, Social Security requires a well-documented history of ALS symptoms, neurological findings, and electrophysiological testing to rule out other impairments so as to support the diagnosis of ALS.
If your claim does not represent a compassionate allowance condition your case may still be approved without the necessity of a hearing. SSA would then determine if you meet a disability listing. The disability listings are conditions that, with enough medical evidence, will automatically qualify you for benefits. This is similar to the compassionate allowances but usually not as severe and they are not expedited. The disability listing for ALS is 11.10. Generally, you must show that the condition is established by clinical and laboratory findings described in 11.00G.
If you do not meet a compassionate allowance or a listing, then the next consideration would be your residual functional capacity. Meaning, what are your functional limitations and how do they affect your ability to not only perform the work you have done in the past 15 years, but also any other type of work in the national economy.
If you do qualify for the social security disability program, you will receive financial and medical treatment which will help ease your stress levels so you can focus on your health. Getting approved for SSD benefits is not going to “cure” you but it certainly can ease the financial struggle a bit. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with ALS, they should definitely consider applying for social security disability benefits.