If you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and are considering filing a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, this article will discuss how your disability case will be evaluated and what you can expect.
Multiple sclerosis is when your body's immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves or even your nerves themselves. This is not reversible. Damage to your myelin affects how your brain communicates with the rest of your body. Symptoms vary greatly, but they can include loss of the ability to walk or speak clearly. Via the Mayo Clinic. In my clients with MS, the most common symptoms I hear are extreme fatigue, numbness, tingling and dizziness. Further discussion here.
Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, can in some instances, be more problematic than the disease itself. Currently, the FDA has approved Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif, Copaxone and other drugs for the treatment of MS. Found here. In some instances, the side effects caused by these medications can alone be debilitating. Since there is no cure for MS, the medications are designed to help slow the progression and reduce the severity of your attacks.
The Social Security Administration evaluates MS under Listing 11.09 Multiple Sclerosis. This listing is a combination of other listings because of the way MS affects the body. Ineffective speech or communication, vision loss or psychological disorders are all discussed here. But if you notice Part C of this listing, severe fatigue is discussed (which is the most common side effect explained to me by my clients). If you are experiencing extreme fatigue that has been proven to be caused by your MS, you may meet this listing. However, it may be the combination of your symptoms from your MS or even your medications that cause you to be disabled. If this is the case, you may not meet this listing but you are still unable to work.
I advise clients not to worry about meeting a specific listing for their impairment. The underlying question to be answered in the Social Security Disability Process is: does your impairment prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity? If your MS has progressed to the point that you are unable to work, you should file a claim for Social Security Disability Benefits as soon as possible. After you file your claim for benefits, your case will go through the Disability Process. Do not be upset if you receive a denial, you must APPEAL!
There are support groups available for people with Multiple Sclerosis and their families. An example is the National MS Society. If you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and are following your doctor's advice but still can not work due your symptoms file your claim for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible and call the Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!