One of the sporting world’s modern legends, Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt, recently passed away. Summitt, who had the most wins in NCAA history, died after a public battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She had announced her diagnoses in 2011, and her battle has brought to light new issues faced by Philadelphia residents and others around the country.
About 5 million Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, while another 200,000 under 65 have early onset Alzheimer’s. The disease is a serious mental disorder that can not only pose significant problems with a person’s physical and mental abilities, but, by extension, his or her ability to continue working as well.
With an increasing number of baby boomers working longer, there is likely to be an increased number of individuals in the workplace dealing with Alzheimer’s and other mental conditions. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, employees may be able to have reasonable accommodations provided by their employer.
For others, however, mental disorders can make it impossible to continue working. Fortunately, the person may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for mental conditions, which can provide a much-needed financial lifeline after suffering the loss of income from no longer working.
The Social Security Administration has also added early onset Alzheimer’s to the list of its Compassionate Allowance conditions. This decision means that those with early onset Alzheimer’s may be eligible for expedited access to SSDI benefits. Accordingly, those individuals who are dealing with Alzheimer’s or other mental conditions should understand their ability to obtain disability benefits, as well as the steps they need to take to receive those benefits.
Source: Forbes, “Pat Summitt leaves a key Alzheimer’s legacy,” Richard Harris, July 1, 2016