SSDI and Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a chronic autoimmune disorder that targets the central nervous system. Essentially, this means that your immune system attacks your spinal cord, brain, and even the optic nerves. It damages the insulation around the nerves, and will eventually progress to the point that disability to some degree can occur. In many instances, it may lead to a loss of function, though a lot of people with MS have few to no symptoms throughout their lives.
There are a few types of MS, and they can be a reason that someone will seek Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. The first type is RRMS or relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis; there is also primary-progressive MS, secondary-progressive MS, as well as progressive-relapsing MS.
Symptoms vary based on the severity of the condition and whether or not the individual suffers periods of remission and exacerbation. There are many symptoms and they differ greatly from person to person. For instance, Mayo Clinic writes that “Symptoms often affect movement, such as:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs and trunk
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
- Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
Vision problems are also common, including:
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
- Prolonged double vision
- Blurry vision
Multiple sclerosis symptoms may also include:
- Slurred speech
- Tingling or pain in parts of your body
- Problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function
Does it Qualify as a Disability?
The short answer is that MS can qualify as a disability. However, it has to have lasted (or be expected to last) for 12 months or more. This is a difficulty for the individual with MS seeking SSDI because they may go through many periods of remission before another exacerbation leaves them unable to work. In other words, MS is episodic, and that proves challenging for SSDI claims.
Fortunately, the SSA acknowledges that MS is episodic and will then evaluate the length and frequency of the individual’s episodes, and determine what sort of symptoms they experience. If they are deemed disabling due to frequency and severity, the individual will be granted SSDI.
The Social Security Blue Book has MS under its neurological heading for adults and kids. The individual must lose control of two extremities and find it difficult to walk, stand or sit. They can also qualify if they have “marked” physical and social, thinking, or task-completion symptoms.
As in the case of other issues that may or may not qualify, you can also have your physician fill out an RFC form.
This form must be completed by a physician and will identify physical limitations associated with your condition. It is a chance for you to document the ways that MS affects your ability to work and function.
If you are suffering from MS, the team at Disability Help Center will help you move forward with a disability claim and offers a free disability evaluation.