Medically qualifying for either SSDI or SSI is exactly the same. When the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates applications, it will compare your diagnosis with its corresponding listing in the “Blue Book.” This medical guide lists all SSA-approved disabilities and the requirements you’ll need to qualify.
Children with ALD (referred to as “neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy”) will automatically medically qualify for disability benefits. For approval, the SSA suggests evidence of an ALD diagnosis with either test results from plasma VLCFA abnormalities, or mutations in the PEX genes. Additionally, children with ALD qualify for a Compassionate Allowance, meaning that the SSA will flag a child’s application for expedited review and approval. Your child should be approved for disability benefits in just a couple of weeks.
Adults with ALD may qualify under multiple listings — because there is no specific listing for adult ALD, applicants can qualify due to the severity of other symptoms caused by the disorder. For example, an applicant who has become blind, deaf, or experiences severe intermittent muscle spasms may qualify under Blue Book listings for those specific symptoms: Section 2.00 for special senses, or Section 1.00 for musculoskeletal disorders.
For example, an adult with ALD would be able to prove he medically qualifies for disability benefits if he is unable to “ambulate effectively” under Section 1.00. Ineffective ambulation includes:
- Needing a wheelchair
- Inability to walk more than a couple of blocks without a cane or walker
- Inability to go up more than a few stairs without a handrail
The more limiting your ALD, the more likely it is to qualify for benefits. The Blue Book is available online, so you can review it with your doctor to see if your adult-onset ALD will medically qualify for disability benefits.