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Social Security Disability
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The Social Security Administration (SSA) has added early onset/younger-onset Alzheimer's to the list of conditions under its Compassionate Allowance Initiative, giving those with the disease expedited access to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Alzheimer's Association, a longtime advocate for those with early onset Alzheimer's, has played an integral role in this movement to reduce the length of disability decision process. Sign up for our e-newsletter and learn more about the actions we take on behalf of individuals and their families living with Alzheimer’s.

 Read Association Statement (2 pages)

Application process

If you are affected by early-onset Alzheimer's, use our helpful checklist to make sure you have information and resources you need to apply for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Income benefits.

 Checklist (2 pages)

Answers for those facing early-onset Alzheimer's

 Read all Frequently Asked Questions (2 pages)


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What is the Compassionate Allowance Initiative?

Under this initiative, the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds individuals with certain diseases/conditions eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits by the nature of the disease. Under this initiative, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will expedite the review of applications from individuals with certain diseases or conditions. Please note that applicants still have to meet SSDI and/or SSI criteria.

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are paid to individuals who have worked for enough years and have a condition that is so severe that they are not able to work any longer. Administered by the SSA, SSDI makes monthly payments to eligible disabled individuals and is a significant benefit for individuals with early-onset (younger-onset) Alzheimer's disease. In addition to a monthly payment, it serves as entry to Medicare benefits for those under the age of 65. Family members (e.g., spouses and minor children) may also be eligible for benefits based on the applicant's work record.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) are paid each month to individuals who are aged, blind or disabled and have limited income and resources (assets). The "disability" criteria for SSI are the same as for SSDI benefits. Unlike SSDI, eligibility for SSI is not based on prior work experience. In addition, in most states, individuals who receive SSI are also automatically eligible for Medicaid (medical assistance) benefits.

Why is this important to individuals with early-onset Alzheimer's disease and related dementias?

Social Security disability benefits are very important to those with early-onset (younger-onset) Alzheimer's and related dementias because these individuals are often initially denied benefits – but usually win on appeal. Those affected by early-onset Alzheimer's are often simultaneously faced with the enormous challenges that the disease presents, while also undergoing a long disability decision process that is financially and emotionally draining. By adding Alzheimer's disease to the list of “Compassionate Allowance” conditions, it will simplify and streamline the SSDI/SSI application process and should result in receiving SSDI/SSI benefits in an expedited manner.

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Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.