Social Security Disability Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. MS damages the insulating sheaths around nerves (demyelination). MS is usually a chronic disease; over time the symptoms become painful and get worse. Body functions deteriorate, though there are intervals with few to no symptoms. Each person is different; some have quickly progressive worsening conditions while others go for years without any substantial symptoms.

There are several types of MS, such as relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), primary-progressive MS, secondary-progressive MS, and progressive-relapsing MS. The symptoms of these types vary depending on the progression of the disease and whether the patient has periods of exacerbations and remissions.

People diagnosed with primary progressive MS are at an average 40 years of age. Roughly equal numbers of men and women have it. In other kinds of this disorder, women outnumber men 3 to 1. It normally leads to relapsing-remitting MS.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The effects of multiple sclerosis on the body can be great, and MS can affect several areas of the body. Some signs include:

  • Loss of balance
  • Problems with walking and coordination
  • Tremors or weakness in the arms and legs
  • Bowel and bladder problems, including constipation and frequently needing to urinate
  • Vision issues, including double vision or loss of vision
  • Numbness, tingling or pain in arms, the face, or legs
  • Hearing loss
  • Problems concentrating and remembering things
  • Depression
  • Speech problems, including slurred speech
  • Fatigue

Multiple Sclerosis and Your Ability to Perform Physical Work

For individuals who suffer from multiple sclerosis, work requiring any degree of physical activity is just impossible. The Social Security Administration considers you fully disabled from multiple sclerosis in case you have functional disorganization in two or more of your major limbs (arms and legs). If you have lost the ability to perform work because of loss of manual dexterity, you could qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Any conditions that limit your ability to walk, stand, sit, push, pull, lift, bend, or perform any physical activity should be said whether the symptoms are related to multiple sclerosis or not. A Social Security Disability lawyer can prove helpful in how your symptoms should be reported. In addition to the fact that they can handle much of the paperwork for you, a capable Social Security Disability attorney or advocate will know better than the normal claimant on the kinds of information the SSA is looking for when adjudicating your Social Security Disability claim.

Another symptom that qualifies MS victims is visual impairment. You must qualify according to the guidelines laid out, rather than the guidelines geared towards MS, to be eligible based on vision issues.

If your claim is refused, try again. Most disability applicants are denied the first claim. Don’t feel dispirited or frustrated should you need to make an appeal. Review your case, make any changes, and keep working toward your goal.

Multiple Sclerosis and Your Ability to Perform Sedentary Work

Because Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disorder, victims are prohibited by many the signs of MS from performing sedentary tasks. Sedentary jobs are jobs which typically require you to sit in one place for many hours at one time. Many sedentary tasks (particularly those available to unskilled workers) involve a need for manual dexterity. Many who suffer from MS are unable to perform this kind of work due to the damaged communication between their brains and their hands.

In addition, symptoms such as chronic headaches and mental disorders are frequent amongst multiple sclerosis sufferers, and any of these conditions can be considered severe enough if they hinder you from performing work.

The Chance on Getting Benefits

Prior to applying for benefits, be sure you:

Stay up to date in your MRIs. Your chances will improve if you can prove that you’ve got fresh lesion growth or a loss of volume in your brain. New lesions particularly help establish decreasing functionality.

Take your medication as prescribed. In case you have a flare up that becomes painful and you have not been taking your medications, it leaves the door open for Social Security to say if you would just take your meds, you might improve.

Keep records of your sick days and anytime you have to take off due to your symptoms. Keep track of how MS affects your productivity so Social Security and easily establish a decline in your ability to work.

If you’re under 50 and have never worked in an office job, consider trying this type of work. It will not guarantee you disability benefits unless the symptoms have become serious. And unless you have had sedentary work, Social Security may say there are other jobs you can do.

Social Security requires that your disability has lasted or is expected to last 12 months to qualify for disability. Since most forms of MS are episodic, there are periods when you’ve little to no symptoms and periods when is debilitating. The phases of sickness are called episodes, exacerbations, or relapses, and can vary in length and severity. The intervals with few symptoms are called remissions. Social Security does recognize that MS is episodic in nature, so the agency will evaluate the frequency and duration of your episodes, the time between your episodes, and the presence of permanent impairments even in times of little to no symptoms, to determine if you’re disabled.

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