Is MS a Disability?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes MS a disability that is severe enough that prevents an individual from working full time.
If you have MS, and you can prove that you are unable to work anymore because of it, the SSA will consider your MS a disability and you will be able to earn Social Security disability benefits.
For the SSA to consider MS a disability, you will need to meet the SSA's Blue Book listing 11.09. It is important to have strong medical documentation supporting your case.
Multiple Sclerosis – Condition
Multiple Sclerosis, is a disease that occurs when the fatty myelin sheaths surrounding the axons in the brain and spinal cord are damaged by attacks from the body’s own immune system. Put simply, Multiple Sclerosis causes the immune system to destroy the coatings of nerve channels, shorting out nerve signals and limiting the capacity of the spinal cord and the brain to correspond with each other.
What Are The Symptoms of MS?
The early symptoms of MS include MS hug, fatigue, numbness or tingling, walking difficulties, weakness, vision problems, and loss of balance and dizziness. One of my most common early symptoms of MS is what is called MS hug. MS hug is a squeezing sensation around the stomach that feels like a blood pressure cuff when it tightens. It is also called Dysesthesia.
MS hug can stretch all around the chest or stomach, or it can be just on one side. The MS hug can affect people differently. If you begin to experience what you think to be MS hug, and are noticing the other symptoms such as fatigue, numbness, difficulty walking, etc. you should immediately seek medical treatment.
If you are diagnosed with MS and it becomes more and more difficult to work full time because of it, you may be able to qualify and earn Social Security disability.
Consult a neurologist to determine if symptoms are indicative of Multiple Sclerosis, but in many cases proving a definitive link can be difficult. Often, symptoms include:
- chronic pain
- cognitive problems
A precise diagnosis can be based on your medical records and neurological tests, and various specialized procedures including magnetic resonance imaging, lumbar or spinal taps punctures, evoked potentials and blood analysis can help to accurately detect Multiple Sclerosis. Diagnosing this disease early is extremely important, since the progression of symptoms can be slowed significantly by treatment.
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis
When applying for Social Security Disability benefits on the basis of Multiple Sclerosis, it is necessary to demonstrate to the state-run Disability Determination Services (DDS) that a claimant’s capacity to perform gainful work activity has been severely limited by the condition. The DDS will examine that you meet the Blue Book listing for MS.
Even if a claimant can provide strong medical evidence of disability based on MS, it is important to provide detailed information about the symptoms of the condition, particularly the limitations imposed on the day-to-day functioning of the patient.
Corroborating a neurologist's diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis with a long-term record of symptoms and impairments provided by a primary care physician will greatly strengthen a case for disability benefits. Medical evidence that will strengthen a MS disability case includes:
- proof of demyelination from a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- spinal tap that shows increased myelin basic proteins
- evidence of slowed, garbled or halted nerve impulses from Evoked Potential Tests including VEP, BAEP'S, and SSEP'S
The medical factors listed in the Social Security Administration’s impairment criteria handbook, or “blue book,” that are used by Disability Determination Services to decide whether to award Social Security Disability benefits to individuals with Multiple Sclerosis include:
Impairments that Qualify for MS Disability Benefits
- Visual impairment;
- Mental impairment involving behavioral and psychological abnormalities manifested by the presence of certain mental disorders;
- Persistent motor function disorganization in the form of paralysis or paresis, ataxia, tremor and sensory disturbances that may occur in different combinations; and
- Significant motor function fatigue with considerable muscle weakness particularly when performing repetitive activities.
What Are the Chances of Getting Disability with MS?
Your chances of getting disability with MS are greatly increased when you have a lot of medical evidence to back up your claim that you can no longer work with MS.
The more medical evidence you have, the chances of you getting disability with MS are greatly increased. In order to increase your chances of getting disability with MS, your medical evidence needs to prove that because of your MS, your ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities are extremely limited.
If your medical evidence that you show the SSA cannot prove that, your medical evidence needs to show marked limitation in physical functioning in one of the following; understanding, remembering, or applying information Interacting with others concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace or adapting or managing oneself.
If you are able to back up your claim with medical evidence of your MS, the chances of getting disability are greatly increased.
You Could Earn Up to $40,140 a Year! Get a Free Case Evaluation
Obtaining disability benefits on the basis of Multiple Sclerosis can be difficult, particularly for younger claimants. If you currently suffer from this disease and believe that you have a strong case for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it is important that you fully understand the SSDI application and appeals process before you send in your initial applications. To see how much you could earn with disability benefits with MS, Use our disability calculator to see how much you could be able to earn in disability benefits.
You may want to get help from a disability attorney in order to get disability with MS. This Is especially the case if your claim has been denied initially. Be sure to look out for the signs that you will be denied for disability.
Your disability lawyer will be able to tell you what paperwork and medical evidence you need to submit in your appeal. Your disability lawyer will also be able to testify on your behalf to an ALJ judge in order to prove that your MS is so disabling that you are unable to work full time because of it. Disability lawyers work on contingency fee basis, meaning they are only paid if you win your MS disability claim.
In most cases, working closely with medical professionals, along with a qualified Social Security attorney or disability advocate, can greatly increase the efficiency with which a claimant’s rightful benefits are obtained.