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Pick’s disease or Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the less common forms of dementia.  The disease is rare neurodegenerative disorder that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These areas are responsible for managing important functions such as making decisions. It also regulates emotions, speech, and movement.

Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, which primarily impacts memory, Pick’s disease leads to changes in social behavior, personality, and language. Usually, the first Pick’s symptoms are changes to your personality and problems with language.

pick's disease and disability benefits

Scientists estimate there are between 15 and 22 cases of Pick’s disease per every 100,000 people. But they also believe that the number of people with the disease is higher than available reports suggest. For example, a famous person with Pick’s disease is Bruce Willis.

In 2023, his family announced by his family that he had the official diagnosis of Frontotemporal dementia or Pick’s disease. According to his family, one of the main symptoms that Bruce Willis experiences is loss of language ability. However, his family also reports that he is still able to communicate with them through his actions.


Below is a list of some of the key features of FTD or Pick’s disease:

  1. Behavior Changes: One of the most prominent signs of Pick’s Disease is a change in personality and behavior. For example, some people may have socially inappropriate behaviors. Or, they may become impulsive or apathetic.
  2. Language Problems: As the disease progresses, people often experience problems with speech and language. This can show itself as trouble finding words, using incorrect words, or a complete loss of the ability to speak.
  3. Cognitive Decline: While memory might remain intact in the early stages of the disease, other cognitive functions become worse. For example, the disease might impair your ability to plan and problem solve.
  4. Physical Symptoms: In the later stages of the disease, physical symptoms such as muscle rigidity, tremors, and coordination issues may develop.

While the exact cause of Pick’s disease is unknown. It is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Abnormal accumulations of proteins known as Pick bodies, which are composed of tau proteins, are found in the affected brain cells. Additionally, genetic mutations have been linked to familial forms of the disease. However, many cases occur without a clear hereditary pattern.


Diagnosing Pick’s Disease can be challenging due to the fact that it is similar to other types of dementia. Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and perform a neurological exam. Additionally, your doctor may do imaging studies like an MRI or CT scans.

Because there is no cure for Pick’s Disease, treatment focuses on managing your symptoms and improving the quality of your life. Your doctor may give you medications that address your symptoms. For example, your doctor may give you medications for depression, anxiety, or sleep problems. Additionally, your may undergo speech and occupational therapy to help maintain your communication skills. Therapy can also help you maintain your daily functions for as long as possible.


The search for effective treatments for Pick’s Disease has led to the development of several experimental therapies. These approaches include:

  • Tau-targeting therapy: These drugs prevent tau proteins from forming and they clear tau proteins from the brain. These therapies try to halt or slow the progression of the disease.
  • Gene therapy: This approach involves silencing the genetic mutations that are responsible for Pick’s disease. By targeting the root cause at the genetic level, gene therapy holds the potential for significant  impact on the disease.
  • Neuroprotective agents: These compounds are designed to protect neurons from damage and slow down the disease. They aim to maintain neuronal health and function and mitigate the symptoms of Pick’s disease.

Clinical trials evaluate the safety of these experimental treatments. Researchers conduct Phase I, II, and III clinical trials to test new drugs and therapies. The reason they do that is to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective for those with Pick’s disease.


The prognosis for Pick’s Disease varies based on factors like the age of onset and your overall health. However, in general your symptoms will get worse over time. Try to exercise and eat right. That way you are more likely to be able to deal with your symptoms. Even if it means accepting what is happening to you.

Life expectancy after symptom onset is about 6 to 8 years. However, it can range from 2 to 20 years. In the early stages, changes in personality, behavior, and language may be mistaken for other mental conditions or even normal aging. If the changes you experience feel unusual to you, then you should see a doctor.

As the disease progresses to the middle stage, behavioral symptoms become worse. For example, some people exhibit socially inappropriate behavior and lack of empathy. In the later stages of the disease, physical symptoms such as muscle rigidity, difficulty walking, and other motor problems may begin. Therefore, your may become dependent on others for daily care.

You will need support from your doctor and family. It is wise, at the beginning of the disease, to check into community and family resources that can help you deal with the later stages of Pick’s disease.


If you have Pick’s disease, then you should apply for SSDI and SSI benefits. The following paragraphs explain the differences between SSDI and SSI benefits.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):  

SSDI benefits are for those who have worked and can no longer work at any job due to their medical condition. The amount of money you will receive from SSDI benefits is based on your earnings and the taxes you have paid during your work history.

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have earned enough “work credits.” A work credit is an amount of taxable income. You can earn up to 4 work credits per year. The amount of work credits you need will depend on how old you are when you apply. If you haven’t earned enough work credits for your age at the time you apply, then you can only file for Supplemental Security Income benefits.

SSDI benefits come with Medicare. Learn about information about Medicare benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI):  

SSI is a needs based benefit. It is for those people with little to no income, such as children and the elderly. Anyone who makes more than a certain amount of money per month cannot receive SSI benefits. The SSA counts the income of those in your house, not just your personal income and assets.

If you have a spouse who earns more than $4000 a month, for example, then that income will prevent you from getting SSI benefits. You cannot be paid SSI benefits, no matter how severe your medical condition, if you do not meet the income and asset rules for SSI. SSI benefits come with Medicaid. Learn more information about Medicaid benefits.

You can file an application for both SSDI and SSI benefits online at Social Security’s website. Applying is easy to do. However, if you need help, then we can help you. Find out more about filing for SSD benefits.


In order to win Social Security benefits, you need to meet a listing. The SSA has a list of disabilities that they call the “Blue Book.” SSA’s Listing 11.17 outlines the criteria for neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system, including Pick’s Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD).

11.17 Neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system with A OR B:

A. Disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.


B. Marked limitation in physical function and in one of the following:

  1. Understand, remember, or apply information; or
  2. Interact with others; or
  3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; or
  4. Adapt or manage oneself.

As you can see, the SSA is looking to see severe symptoms that keep you from working at any job. For example, if you cannot balance while you stand or walk, then you can’t walk at work. But you also can’t walk to get into work. The same is true with use of the arms. Even if you don’t use your arms to do construction work, like lifting boards or using a hammer. You still need good use of your arms to type, write, or simply pick up a telephone. If you do not have good use of both arms, then there will be no jobs you can perform.

Finally, the SSA is also looking at your ability to use your brain. Can you remember and understand instructions? Likewise, can you concentrate on tasks? Can you finish tasks that your boss assigns to you at work? The combination of physical symptoms, as well as the lack of being able to use your mental skills, meets the listing for Pick’s disease.


Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) and Pick’s disease are different names for the same disease. However, FTD is a syndrome that causes the frontal and temporal anterior lobes of the brain to shrink. Originally known as Pick’s disease, how to classify FTD has been a topic of discussion for over a century.

FTD’s current group of syndromes includes Pick’s disease, primary progressive aphasia, and semantic dementia. The presence of Pick bodies in the brain distinguishes frontal lobe dementia from other types of dementia. There is a strong genetic component to the disease as FTD often runs in families.

The outcome for those with FTD or Pick’s disease is poor. The disease rapidly progresses and ranges from 2 to 10 years. Eventually some individuals with FTD will need 24 hour care and monitoring at home or in an hospital care setting.

According to SSA’s rules, Pick’s disease qualifies for SSDI and SSI benefits under the compassionate allowance program. Prior to attending a hearing, your attorney should make the argument to SSA that they should grant your benefits.


In many cases, Pick’s disease directly affects your ability to perform the job duties necessary to complete a 40 hour work week. However, you may not meet listing 11.17. Therefore, to qualify for Social Security disability  benefits you will need to use your residual functional capacity (RFC).

In order to figure out your physical RFC, the SSA will examine your medical records. They will take into account what your doctor states in your medical records about your symptoms. Also, the SSA will review any statements from your doctors about your ability to work.

Additionally, the SSA has their own doctors. They have doctors that review your medical records, but never meet or examine you. These doctors are paid by the government and work for DDS, the state agency who reviews all cases.

The SSA will take the medical opinion of these doctors into account. Likewise, if they need more information, they may send you to an exam with one of their doctors. You need to attend the exam and explain your symptoms to the SSA doctor. Learn more about what to expect at SSA’s doctor exam.

The SSA will also consider descriptions about your symptoms from your family and friends. Find out more information about what types of evidence the SSA must consider in your SSD case. For example, your family could write a statement about your mental symptoms from Pick’s disease. Learn more about your RFC and how along with age, it can keep you from working. Also, find out more about SSA’s Medical Vocational Guidelines .


If you have Pick’s disease, then you need SSDI and SSI benefits to replace your income. Therefore, you want the top SSD attorney to help you. As the best SSD attorneys, we offer a free review of your case. But, a free review does not mean we are your attorney.

First, we have to accept your case. We only take cases that we think have a chance of winning. Why? Because we are only paid if we win your benefits.

Much of our decision depends on what you tell us during a phone interview. Therefore, when you call, make sure you explain all of your physical and mental conditions. If you have a diagnosis of Pick’s disease, make sure you tell us that. Also, make sure to tell us who is treating your for the disease.

Additionally, if you are having other mental issues, like anxiety, then tell us that too. Likewise, if you have a physical condition, like back pain, then don’t forget to tell us about a past back operation. All of your physical and mental issues matter in your Social Security claim. Even if you have Pick’s disease, we still need to get an overall picture of your health to determine whether you can win SSD benefits.


When you call our office, we will ask you questions about your work history. Your work history includes the jobs you have done for the last 5 years.  Also, we will ask you questions about your legal history and if you have alcohol abuse problems. These types of issues can prevent winning your case. If you already have an attorney, however, you will need to call that attorney to answer your questions. We cannot answer questions if you already have a lawyer.

Also, if we do not win your case, then you do not owe an attorney fee. We only charge an attorney fee when we win your benefits. If we do not win, then there is no attorney fee for you to pay. Whether you win or lose your case, you will need to pay the costs of your claim. However, those costs are usually low. You can also review our client paperwork on our Fee Agreement and Important Forms page.

Contact us today and hire the legal team with the experience to win your SSDI & SSI benefits. We will help you through each step of SSA’s five step review process.


With over 30 years of experience in helping individuals secure SSDI and SSI benefits, our attorneys are experts. When facing Pick’s disease, it is essential to hire an attorney with extensive experience and a dedicated legal team. No successful attorney works alone, and our team approach ensures support for you and your case. Concerned about costs? Learn more about how attorney fees work in SSD cases.

At our law firm, our legal team has a proven track record of handling SSDI and SSI cases. We pride ourselves on outstanding customer service. Also, we work with you to achieve the best outcome. Our team is committed to doing everything possible to help you win benefits.

If you are unable to work due to Pick’s disease, then contact us today. We understand the challenges in winning benefits and are prepared to assist you with your application and any necessary appeals. Our legal experience includes helping clients at the Appeals Council and Federal Court.

We are here to answer your questions. We offer a free review of your benefits. Also, we do not charge you to review your case. While we may not be able to take on every case, we strive to help everyone who contacts us by answering their questions.

We can only represent you if your condition prevents you from working for over a year. If you have Pick’s disease and cannot return to work, then call and ask how we can assist you in winning Social Security benefits.

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