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Receive Disability Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is considered a disability by the Social Security Administration, providing the symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working full time. You will also have to meet the other SSA requirements for disability, including having sufficient work credits and meeting the income/resources requirements. According to Healthline, multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most widespread, disabling neurological condition of young adults across the globe. While you can develop MS at any age, most people receive a diagnosis of MS between the ages of 20 and 50.
The rate of MS progression is extremely difficult to determine because the course is rarely predictable with relapsing, remitting, and progressive types of MS. It is estimated that at least one million people in the United States currently live with MS, with about 200 new cases diagnosed each week. If your MS keeps you from working and making a living and completing your everyday tasks, you could be entitled to SS disability benefits.
Since obtaining SS disability benefits can be challenging—to say the least—having an experienced, highly skilled attorney from Carmichael Law Group can make the difference between an approval and a denial of benefits. Carmichael Law Group primarily does one thing—Social Security Disability—therefore, we do it better than many other firms. We will fight hard for your right to receive disability benefits, whether that means helping you with your initial application or working on your behalf throughout the appeals process.
We understand that Social Security will look at the five-step review process and will determine what impact your condition has had on your life and your ability to work. Correct storytelling regarding your condition, while showing the impact of that condition carries much more weight than just the “title” of your condition. We are have experience and skill in this type of storytelling, and will use that to your advantage.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that impacts the brain and spinal cord. The central nervous system controls everything we do as human beings. The exact cause of MS is unknown; we know that something triggers the immune system to attack the spinal cord and brain, leading to damage to the myelin.
Myelin is the protective layer of “insulation” surrounding our nerve fibers. When that insulation is damaged, the signals to and from the brain are disrupted. Once these signals are disrupted, unpredictable symptoms can occur, including pain, extreme fatigue, numbness and tingling, changes in mood, memory issues, and even blindness or paralysis. These losses can be temporary or can be long-lasting.
Although the exact cause of MS is not known, there is some evidence that the following can contribute to MS:
- Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of developing MS, as well as more severe symptoms and a more rapid disease progression.
- Obesity in childhood and adolescence, particularly among girls, appears to increase the risk of later developing MS. Adult obesity can result in more MS activity among those who already have an MS diagnosis.
- Measles, Epstein-Barr virus, canine distemper, and other viruses are being investigated to determine whether they could contribute to the development of MS.
- Although MS is not an inherited disease, there is a genetic risk; among the general population, the risk of developing MS is about one in 750-1,000. Among identical twins, if one twin has MS, the risk for the other is one in four. When a parent or sibling has MS, the risk of an individual increases as well.
Is Multiple Sclerosis a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
Multiple sclerosis falls under impairment listing 11.09. To be found disabled under this listing, you must have documented proof of:
- An inability to control the movement of at least two extremities (both arms, both legs, or an arm and a leg), resulting in extreme difficulty in balancing while standing or walking, standing from a seated position, or using your arms and/or hands.
- Marked (severe) physical issues along with marked limitations in one of the following:
- Concentrating or finishing tasks
- Social interactions
- Thinking (understanding, remembering, or using information)
If you have been diagnosed with MS and are unable to work yet your symptoms do not clearly meet the criteria listed in 11.09, you could potentially qualify under Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Your ability to perform basic work-related activities will be taken into consideration, along with your age, your level of education, and your prior work experience. The SSA will determine whether your RFC is sedentary, light, medium, or heavy. As an example, if you have severe MS-related muscle and physical fatigue made worse by activity, your RFC should be sedentary at best.
Providing Proof for Multiple Sclerosis and Disability Benefits
Whether you are approved for SS disability benefits usually hinges on your medical records, along with your account of your symptoms, and the results of any consultative exams that the SSA sent you to. Generally speaking, being older (especially over the age of 55), with a history of unskilled labor and less education increases the chances of receiving SS disability benefits. Make sure you have a complete medical history related to your MS, including the diagnosis and every treatment you have tried and medication you have taken or still take.
Getting Help with Your Multiple Sclerosis and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
Even though MS is listed in the SSA’s impairment listings, you will still have to show that your symptoms prevent you from working and prevent you from performing daily activities. Having an experienced attorney from Carmichael Law Group can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Our highly-skilled, knowledgeable, compassionate attorneys can assist you in providing the documentation SSA requires for approval. We will work with you to either present the most complete initial application possible or will help you through the appeals process. Contact Carmichael Law Group, LLC today.