May is ALS Awareness Month

Thanks to last year's Ice Bucket Challenge, millions of dollars in donations were raised to aid in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. In addition to generating these funds, the challenge served to raise awareness such that more than ever people now have an understanding of just how devastating this condition can prove to be.

While the Ice Bucket Challenge may be over, the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is far from finished. Indeed, May has long been designated ALS Awareness Month.

For those unfamiliar with ALS, it is a fatal neurological disease in which the motor neurons degenerate and eventually die. This phenomenon, in turn, results in the brain being unable to transmit movement messages, and the loss of both voluntary muscle movement and muscle control.

ALS, which affects upwards of 20,000 Americans at any given time, is hereditary in roughly 5-10 percent of all cases, with the remaining 95 to 90 percent of cases appearing to be entirely random.

While there are currently no known causes of and no known cures for ALS, scientists are still making remarkable strides, learning more about the physiology of the disease in recent years.

What's important for those diagnosed with ALS to know from a legal perspective is that the Social Security Administration has included it on the Compassionate Allowances list.

What this means is that those people diagnosed with certain diseases and conditions known to be especially serious or even deadly -- like ALS -- can have their applications for disability benefits expedited by the SSA.

The reason why the SSA does this is simple: There is no way that those suffering from these diseases and conditions will ever fail to satisfy the agency's strict definition of disability.

If you would like to learn more about your eligibility for disability benefits or the Compassionate Allowances list, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.