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MS and Social Security Disability Benefits

It is MS Awareness Week. MS, or multiple sclerosis, is a disease of the central nervous system. It affects about 2.3 million people throughout the world. The precise cause of the disease is not known, and the symptoms and their severity vary from person to person.

MS Symptoms

Although some people have such minor symptoms that their MS is undiagnosed, most people with the condition have varying degrees of disability, from very mild to quite severe. Because the disease attacks different areas are the central nervous system, people with MS can have different arrays of symptoms. These can include:

  • Problems with motor skills, primarily gait and balance impairments that affect walking
  • Cognitive changes that affect thinking, problem solving and organizing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Vision problems
  • Spasticity that affects waking ability
  • Bladder and bowel problems
  • Emotional and psychological changes, including depression
  • Weakness
  • Pain
  • Numbness and tingling in the extremities

Most people with MS have more than one of these symptoms.

Some people with MS continue to live relatively normal lives and can do most things they did before their diagnosis. However, some are severely disabled almost from the beginning of the disease, and many whose symptoms are mild at the outset experience more severe symptoms as they get older.

MS and Social Security Disability

This means that some people with MS become disabled to the point where they can no longer work, even with accommodation from their employers. Many seek Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as a result.

MS is on the Social Security Administration's list of impairments. However, this does not mean that a person diagnosed with MS automatically qualifies for benefits. Rather, an individual must prove that the disease causes disability so severe that the person is unable to work. Of course, applicants must also show that they are eligible for SSD because of their work history.

The information that you present in your claim for SSD benefits must document how MS limits your ability to work. For example, if you have worked in an office job all your life, your inability to walk without a cane or walker will probably not qualify you for benefits. However, this same person who also documents that he or she can no longer type, see well, process information relatively quickly or have the stamina to work more than a few hours might qualify.

Not being able to walk or stand well might be enough to qualify an older worker whose jobs have involved physical labor or long periods of standing. In short, qualifying for SSD benefits depends on many factors.

Get Help With Your SSD Claim

Because MS is such a variable disease, applying for SSD benefits also varies enormously. That is why it is so important to get help with your application or appeal. At Binder & Binder®, American's most successful Social Security Disability advocates, our people guide MS patients and many others through the process, making sure that claims are developed properly. This avoids problems that can cause significant delays in obtaining benefits.

If you have MS and can no longer work, give Binder & Binder a call and find out how we can help.

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