Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease that disrupts a person's functioning due to deterioration of the myelin sheath near the nerves. It is an autoimmune disorder with varying symptoms for every affected person. Since the nerves are concentrated in the brain and spinal cord, the disease leads to various physical and neurodegenerative symptoms affecting a person's life quality to a great extent.
Qualifying for disability benefits for Multiple Sclerosis
To qualify for social security disability benefits, you need to be able to prove that your Multiple Sclerosis affects your ability to perform daily functioning normally. You must meet either one or all of the following conditions led by MS including physical, neurological or financial limitations.
Financial limitations for Multiple Sclerosis, MS
You would need to prove to the Social Security Administration, SSA that you are unable to perform sufficient work to earn upto substantial gainful activity, SGA. The income limits under SGA is $1220 for non-blind and $2440 for blind individuals, as of 2019.
Physical limitations for Multiple Sclerosis, MS
- Limitations in walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handlingobjects upto 10 pounds as listed under sedentary work requirements by the SSA;
- Difficulty in seeing, observing, hearing and speaking or loss of words (train of thought) while speaking;
- Inability to understand/carry out and remember simple instructions
- Difficulty in responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
- Inability to adjust to changes in a routine work setting
Neurological limitations for Multiple Sclerosis, MS
- Visual impairments: Loss of or diffused vision, with either best corrected vision in the better eye of 20/200 or less, marked contraction of peripheral visual fields to 10° or less from the point of fixation or visual efficiency in the better eye of 20% or less;
- Organic mental disorder with marked restrictions such as hearing loss, difficulty chewing or swallowing food or drinking, bathing, toileting;
- Significant, reoccurring fatigue due to repetitive activities due to motor weakness such as difficulty in walking too long even if the legs are perfectly fine, requiring a wheelchair due to imbalance from walking on your own
Remember if your multiple sclerosis is prolonged and you have any of the above symptoms, you may qualify for social security benefits. You would also need significant medical evidence with proof such as a magnetic resonance imaging, MRI report or other significant tests such as spinal tap or lumbar puncture.
While a medical evidence along with a doctor's statements may heavily support your case, the Social Security Administration is under no obligation to support your medical reports or RFC forms filled by your doctor. This is because since MS is an autoimmune disease related to nerve disorders, the tests carried out may indicate significant errors due to difficulty in diagnosing the disease. The SSA may require you to perform tests from their list of panel doctors again to evaluate your application.
Contact an Attorney
If your disability claim for MS was denied and if you think your claim was denied unfairly, you can re-appeal for the case. You can also contact a disability attorney to help in your disability paperwork or re-appeal.