The Social Security Administration (SSA) has added Younger/Early Onset Alzheimer's to the list of conditions under its Compassionate Allowances (CAL) 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.

Application process

If you are diagnosed with 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.

What is the Compassionate Allowances initiative?

The Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative is a way to expedite the processing of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Social Security Income (SSI) claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions clearly meet Social Security’s definition of disability. The following diseases are currently listed under CAL:

  • Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Adult-onset Huntington disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)
  • Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), Pick’s disease - Type A
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Mixed dementia
  • Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
  • The ALS Parkinsonism Dementia Complex

Learn more: Complete list of CAL conditions and information about CAL

What is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are paid to you and certain members of your family if you are “insured,” meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. 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.

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income benefits (SSI) are payments based on financial need for those who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled.

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. 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 Allowances” conditions, it will simplify and streamline the SSDI/SSI application process and should result in receiving SSDI/SSI benefits in an expedited manner.