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Measure may help Californians affected by ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a terminal condition that affects a victim's nervous system, specifically in the brain and around the spinal cord. This condition forced the famous baseball star, Lou Gehrig, in to retirement and ultimately killed him, which is why it is called Lou Gehrig's disease.

As the disease progresses, the brain will no longer be able to communicate with the rest of the body, meaning that a person will gradually lose all motion. It therefore is no surprise when those affected with ALS is no longer able to work at all or even take care of herself without help.

Should this happen, the victim will probably need to find a source of financial support. Qualifying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration is one step a person can take to establish a stream of income during her hour of need.

Typically, a person has to wait five months after the onset of a disability before qualifying for benefits. However, a new measure working its way through Congress would change that. If the measure passes, then someone with diagnosed ALS could draw benefits from the first month after the onset of the condition.

While this would prove helpful to victims of ALS, it is important to remember that the waiver of the waiting period does not mean that the patient can avoid going through the application process. He will still need to demonstrate that his condition qualifies him for benefits. ALS is a terminal condition, but it is still be important for an applicant from the San Diego area to understand their options.

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