Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Social Security Disability

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society “Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The exact antigen — or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack — remains unknown, which is why MS is considered by many experts to be “immune-mediated” rather than ‘autoimmune.’”

The symptoms include:

  • Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of the body at a time, or the legs and trunk.
  • Vision Problems- Partial or complete loss of vision, Double vision or blurring of vision.
  • Tingling or pain in arms, legs, trunk or face.
  • Electric-shock sensations that occur s when bending neck forward.
  • Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait.
  • Speech problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness.
  • Bowel and bladder problems.

 

Symptoms vary widely.  Diagnosis can be done through an MRI, spinal tap or an evoked response test.   People with MS can have it go into remission and many can live a normal life span without having it interfere with their daily living activities.

However, others find that the MS becomes progressively worse and does interfere with their normal daily living activities.  They may find that they can no longer hold down their job.  When do they qualify for social security disability?  When the MS either meets a listing or they can no longer do any full-time job that exists in the economy, in significant numbers, based on their age, education and past work experience.  The MS listing can be found here: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm

The symptoms also have to last at least a year.  If they go into remission within a year then the time length is too short for you to qualify for social security disability.  The older you are the easier it is too qualify for social security disability.  Over 50 you may be eligible under the grid rules.  I discuss what grid rules are here:  grid rules.  So if you are over 50 and your MS causes you to be unable to return to your previous job and you can no longer walk or stand for any length of time then you may be able to qualify for social security under the grid rules depending on other factors.  You can also qualify for social security disability if you are under the age of 50.  You just have to show that you can no longer do any full-time job that exists in the economy, in significant numbers, based on your age, education and past work experience.  It all depends on your symptoms.   If you have multiple symptoms or severe symptoms that limit your ability to work a full-time job then you are more likely to qualify for social security disability then someone whom has mild symptoms and whose symptoms are mostly in remission.

Please remember that this is just general information, and everyone’s situation is unique. This article should not be considered legal advice.