Press Release from the Brigance Brigade Foundation
The Brigance Brigade Foundation, an organization that supports ALS patients and their families created by former NFL player O.J. Brigance and his wife Chanda, today announced that OJ Brigance joined the Social Security Administration in Washington, DC for the agency’s Compassionate Allowances 200 event. Compassionate Allowances is a nationwide program that expedites Social Security disability decisions to ensure that Americans with the most serious disabilities receive their benefits as quickly as possible. Brigance discussed his experience living with ALS, and the importance of filing for Social Security Disability benefits.
The event was held to commemorate the milestone of reaching 200 conditions that are now included in Compassionate Allowances. Brigance joined Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, at the Hart Senate Office Building to speak about his personal journey with ALS and how and why he founded his nonprofit organization, the Brigance Brigade Foundation. Brigance also addressed the importance of fast-tracking patients who have been diagnosed with a rare disease so that they may receive benefits as fast as possible due to the severity of their condition.
“I am honored to speak at the Compassionate Allowances event because the fast tracking off SSDI benefits is crucial for assisting in the transition that life changing disabilities cause,” Brigance said. “This is about making everyone aware of the benefits available to them and directly aligns with the mission of the Brigance Brigade, to equip, encourage and empower those who are living with ALS.”
Since 2008, nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved through the Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are a way of quickly identifying diseases and other medical conditions that clearly qualify for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits. This fast-track process provides invaluable assistance and support to people coping with severely disabling rare diseases. It gets benefits quickly to people with the most severe disabilities, impacting the quality of life of tens of thousands of Americans and their families. The list of conditions eligible under the program involves cancers, neurological and other rare diseases. To learn more about it, click here.
“O.J. Brigance has an inspiring message for all of us,” Astrue said. “Not only can he offer a first-hand account of being diagnosed with a life-altering disease, he can speak to the urgent need for medical support, as well as the importance of helping other people going through this very tough situation. I’m glad he was able to join us today.”
About the Brigance Brigade Foundation:
O.J. Brigance is one of the few professional football players to win both a Canadian Football League and National Football League championship, and the only one to do it in the same city, Baltimore, MD. Brigance joined the Ravens in 2000, helped the team claim a Super Bowl victory, and now works as Senior Advisor to Player Development. In 2007, Brigance was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a motor neuron disease and is determined to win his fight against it. Following his diagnosis with ALS, O.J. and his wife Chanda created the Brigance Brigade Foundation to equip, encourage and empower people living with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis); we strive to improve the quality of life for them and their families by providing needed equipment, resource guidance and support services, in addition to funding various research initiatives. For more information on the Brigance Brigade, click here.