Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. People who suffer from MS often go through periods of remission and times when they completely lose function in affected limbs. Since MS is a degenerative disease, sufferers typically reach a point at which they are physically limited in a way that interferes with their ability to work. Disabled individuals who reach this point may be eligible for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.

SSDI benefits are funded through paycheck deductions, and people who apply for the benefits must have worked in the past in order to qualify. The insurance program is managed by the federal government, and people who receive payments under the SSDI program have earned benefits by working in the past.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a degenerative autoimmune disorder that causes the optical nerves and nerves in the brain and spinal cord to deteriorate over time. People who suffer from MS may experience periods of remission during which no symptoms are present. However, the fact that MS is degenerative in nature means that people who have the disorder will gradually lose physical and mental functions over time.

MS causes serious symptoms that may be experienced on an episodic basis. These symptoms include loss of balance, difficulty walking, speech impairments, depression, difficulty concentrating, weakness in the limbs, numbness in the face or limbs, fatigue and difficulty swallowing.

Many sufferers experience episodes of symptoms that will go away for long periods, but the progressive nature of MS means that sufferers will eventually experience symptoms on a regular basis. Loss of function in the limbs is a common complication that develops as the disease progresses.

MS cannot be cured, so treatment options focus on alleviating symptoms and slowing the progress of the disease. Corticosteroids are often prescribed to decrease inflammation in the nerves, and a plasma exchange may be used to slow the progress of the disease when steroids do not work. Medications that slow the progression of diseases related to the immune system may be prescribed. Physical therapy is often used to allow sufferers to retain use of their limbs for as long as possible, and muscle relaxants may be used when a person experiences muscle spasms, stiffness or weakness.

Can You Get Disability For Multiple Sclerosis?

The problem with getting SSDI benefits for MS is the fact that relapses in symptoms can make it difficult to prove that an applicant is unable to work. The disability must be expected to last a year or longer, and long periods of no symptoms may lead the Social Security Administration (SSA) to deny a claim.

The SSA maintains a listing that outlines the requirements of qualifying for benefits with MS. These requirements include difficulty walking, severe vision impairment, mental disorder such as memory loss or a decline in IQ or severe fatigue and weakness in the muscles. A person must experience at least one of these complications in order to qualify.

Medical records that include the date of diagnosis, an overview of symptoms and a thorough list of treatment methods that are being used must be provided with the application. It is essential for these records to be compiled by a licensed medical provider.

Getting Help From an Attorney

Applying for SSDI benefits is a long and arduous process that can be especially difficult for people who are suffering from a disability. SSDI attorneys have extensive experience when it comes to helping people apply for benefits. These legal professionals are familiar with the requirements that the SSA has for applicants and will guide clients through the process.

Ruth F. Kolb, Esquire has been practicing social security disability law since 2003 handling all levels of representation from initial claims through all stages of appeal.