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New Law Eliminates Social Security Disability Waiting Period for ALS

Many of us first learned of the disease called ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) during the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went around the Internet like wildfire. ALS is a serious and debilitating disease: People who are diagnosed with ALS often cannot work due to their deteriorating physical abilities and must file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in order to have money to live on.

Fortunately, there is a new federal law that helps people with ALS seeking SSDI benefits.

ALS Statistics

ALS is more common than most people realize. What used to be called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” after the famous baseball player that died from it, has become more known over the last several years. ALS affects as many as 30,000 people in the United States, with 5,000 new ALS cases diagnosed each year. Estimates suggest that ALS is responsible for as many as five out of every 100,000 deaths in people aged 20 or older.

Although ALS is most common among persons over age 60, it occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic boundaries. The incidence of ALS is five times higher than Huntington’s disease and about equal to multiple sclerosis.


With most applications for SSDI, there is a 5-month waiting period before the Social Security Administration (SSA) will begin paying benefits on approved applications. The purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that people are truly disabled for a long period of time – at least 12 months as per the SSA regulations. But this waiting period can be very difficult for people who suffer from debilitating injuries and illnesses like ALS.

In early 2021, Congress passed the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act, which eliminates the 5-month waiting period under the SSA regulations. The new law also eliminates the 2-year waiting period for Medicare coverage after SSDI approval for ALS patients. These changes can significantly help individuals with ALS and their families.

ALS affects motor neurons and muscle movement, which means an individual will lose control over their limbs and extremities. Eventually, this disorder impacts the ability to speak and breathe, with the average survival rate being only 5 years. During this time of suffering, family members taking care of the individual with ALS may also be unable to work, compounding the financial hardship.

Florida Disability Insurance Lawyer

If you have ALS or another disability and believe that you might be entitled to SSDI, you should contact an experienced disability attorney for guidance and direction. The Watson Firm, PLLC comprises talented insurance and disability attorneys who know how to deal with the SSA.

Our lawyers can help you know whether you qualify for SSDI or other benefits and will work hard to help ensure that you get the benefits and coverage that you deserve.

To learn more about how we can help, reach out to The Watson Firm, PLLC by calling (850) 607-2929 or by contacting us online.