The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019, has eliminated the five-month waiting period before starting Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for individuals with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a particularly devastating disease that attacks an individual’s motor neurons. The disease is often fatal within three to five years of symptoms first developing. 

Ordinarily, applicants start receiving benefits in the sixth month after their application for SSDI has been approved. The new law eliminates the waiting period for individuals with ALS and allows for the possibility of receiving benefits almost immediately.

Social Security has now updated their application system to comply with the new law. Social Security can now process SSDI applications from people who are disabled due to ALS within days of receiving the application.

Individuals become eligible for SSDI if they have enough qualifying Social Security work credits and subsequently become disabled. The exact number of work credits required varies by age.

The new law also shortens the time period before disabled individuals with ALS become eligible for Medicare. Individuals with ALS can now become eligible for Medicare the first month they become eligible for disability benefits. Everyone else must receive SSDI for two years before becoming enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.

While there were discussions about giving expedited SSDI eligibility to people with other conditions, this bill only affects people suffering from ALS.

For questions about planning for people with disabilities, please call Mitchell, Brown & Associates at (314) 962-0186.