Social Security Disability & Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a terrible disease. It is never the same in any two patients, and can be dormant for a long time or progress rapidly. MS is a potentially debilitating disease in which the body’s immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers the nerves. This interferes with the communication between the brain and the rest of teh body. Ultimately, this may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that is not reversible. Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected. The Social Security Administration considers multiple sclerosis a disabling condition affecting neurological functions. An individual suffering from MS may be eligible for SSDI or SSI depending on number of years he/she has worked in the past and his/her age

In order to receive disability benefits, medical records must show that the disability condition is severe and has lasted, or will last, for a period not less than twelve months. A claimant must also prove that the condition prevents him/her from engaging in any gainful employment.

The Social Security Administration considers the following factors in determining if an individual with MS is disabled to qualify for Social Security disability benefits:

  • Fatigue of motor function with substantial muscle weakness on repetitive activity
  • Disorganization of motor function
  • Visual impairment
  • Mental impairment

Fatigue
A claimant must show consistent and substantial MS based muscle weakness as a result of repetitive activity. This would include capability of engaging in work like physical activities for short bursts, but consistently fatigue.

Disorganization of Motor Function
Disorganization of motor function is defined by the Social Security Administration as “significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station. This means that an individual will qualify if he/she can show that multiple sclerosis has caused significant difficulty in control of two or more limbs, specifically the loss of dexterity and/or restrictions in walking or standing.

Visual Impairment
Visual impairment is very specifically defined by the Social Security medical guidelines. In general, an individual qualifies under the visually impaired standard as a result of MS if vision in the better eye with correction is 20/200 or less, or the visual field is less than 20 degrees.

Mental Impairment
A claimant must show that the MS has resulted in medically documented loss of memory, loss of time, loss of place orientation, hallucinations, personality disorder, mood disturbances, or a decrease in IQ. He/she must also show either that these symptoms have impacted daily living or concentration, or that there are repeated significant episodes of these conditions lasting for an extended duration.

If you suffer from multiple sclerosis and your symptoms are severe to the level that you are not able to work, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. The process for obtaining benefits can be quite complex and the assistance of an experienced specialist can help to ensure that your rights are protected.

For more Information about disability visit: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm#11_09