Called the ALS Disability Insurance Access Act, the newly introduced bill aims to waive the 5-month waiting period for patients with ALS to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and in the House by Reps Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Peter King (R-NY) during The ALS Association’s Annual National ALS Advocacy Day.

“People with ALS, who have lost the ability to walk, talk, and even breathe on their own and who currently do not have an effective treatment option, should not be forced to wait to receive benefits they deserve and have paid for,” says Barb Newhouse, president and CEO of The ALS Association, in a media release from The ALS Association applauding the new legislation.

“Congress originally justified the 5-month waiting period by saying it allows time for temporary conditions to reverse. Unfortunately, that’s not currently possible for someone with ALS. In fact, nearly 50% of people with ALS will die within 16 months of diagnosis.  For them, 5 months can mean the difference between life and death,” Newhouse adds.

If passed, the bill would waive the 5-month waiting period and enable ALS patients to immediately begin to receive SSDI benefits and Medicare. Congress has already waived the 24-month waiting period for ALS patients to receive Medicare, per the release.

“Given the prognosis for those diagnosed with ALS, it defies common sense and decency to require these same individuals to wait for benefits they have paid for and most importantly deserve,” King states in the release.

“Those battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease shouldn’t have to wait to get benefits they’ve earned, especially given the unique challenges the disease poses for patients and their families,” Whitehouse shares. “I’m proud to stand with the ALS community in introducing this legislation in the Senate.”

[Source(s): The ALS Association, PR Newswire]