May was Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Awareness Month. ALS is a progressive disease with no known cure. It advances rapidly and attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. On average, 1,000 people with ALS apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits every year.
The ALS Disability Insurance Access Act of 2019 eliminates the required five-month SSDI waiting period for ALS applicants approved for benefits on or after July 23, 2020. The new law, however, does not affect our disability application or determination process.
This past month, we made the ALS claims processing even faster. Our system now automatically eliminates the five-month waiting period for ALS disability insurance claims. Previously, we had to prepare manual awards and send them to our Processing Centers for action—which took much more time. Now, we can help people with this debilitating disease in just a matter of days.
To give a real life example, a claimant with ALS recently submitted to us an online disability application. Using an electronic health exchange, we were able to collect sufficient medical evidence for the claimant and processed the claim in just two days. To learn more about how this process works, please visit our Disability Benefits Approval page (https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/approval.html) .