While the exact prevalence of Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome is unknown, it is considered to be a very rare disorder. A person who has the disorder is born with it, although it is not commonly diagnosed at birth. However, as an infant who is suffering from the condition ages, the symptoms become more apparent. It is at this time that many families find themselves in the position of needing extra financial assistance to provide for the needs of their disabled child. Fortunately Social Security Disability benefits may be able to help. If your child has been diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome and you are wondering how the diagnosis affects your claim, the following information will help you understand the application process and how your child may qualify for benefits more quickly under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program.
Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome Condition and Symptoms
When a child is born with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome it is very rare that they are diagnosed at birth. This is because the symptoms of the disorder first appear as symptoms that would be associated with a number of different viruses or illnesses, such as an enlarged spleen and liver, elevated liver enzyme levels, a decrease in blood platelets and impaired neurological responses.
Most of the babies who are born with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome will experience a period of time where significant brain dysfunction is present. This period of time usually lasts for several months during which the infant will be extremely irritable, will not feed well and may even develop recurring fevers and seizures. Many of these babies will stop developing new skills and may even lose the skills they had developed up to that point in time. While it is uncommon for individuals with this disorder to live into adulthood, some do.
Causes of Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome
Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, meaning that both copies of the gene in each cell have a mutation. While each parent of the child who inherits the disorder will carry one copy of the mutated gene, the parents themselves will usually not show any symptoms of the disorder.
The genes that are mutated in association with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome include the RNASEH2A, RNASEH2B, RNASEH2C, TREX1 and SAMHD1 genes. These are the genes that are responsible for giving directions to the body to create enzymes that help break up the molecules of DNA and RNA. The mutations to these genes result in a dysfunctional nuclease enzyme (or a lack of one).
Filing for Social Security Disability with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome
Many of the people who file for Social Security Disability benefits are well aware of the fact that the majority of claims that the SSA receives each year are denied by the Social Security Administration. Many applicants wait not just months, but two years or more before seeing their first disability payment. Fortunately, the SSA has recognized that some conditions are so severe that they warrant faster processing of a disability claim. These conditions have been listed in what is known as the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program. Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome is one of the conditions that has been including in this listing. This means that a person who is filing a claim based on this diagnosis may qualify for SSDI benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or even years for an approval.
When you complete your paperwork, make sure that you answer all of the questions on the claim forms and answer them as thoroughly as possible. Just because the condition is included in the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances program, this does not mean you will automatically be approved for benefits if you do not fill out the claim forms properly or if you fail to furnish the SSA with sufficient medical evidence to support your claim.
Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome and Your Social Security Disability Case
If you are applying for SSDI benefits for a child who has been diagnosed with Aicardi-Goutieres Syndrome, you may want to seek out the services of an attorney. Your attorney can help you fill out your claim forms properly and will ensure that your application is submitted in the best light possible, ensuring that the adjudicator who receives the file understands how the claim qualifies for Compassionate Allowances processing. While it is not common for the SSA to deny a claim based on one of the Compassionate Allowances listings, it has been known to happen. Retaining the services of a Social Security Disability attorney can increase your chances of obtaining benefits for your child without any unnecessary delays.