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FROM: Social Security Disability Help
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Multiple Sclerosis
If you suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS) in any of its forms, you may be able to get disability benefits, if your condition has progressed to the point that it prevents you from working for a year or longer.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two disability programs for which you may be eligible:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – which is a program for disabled workers, and under certain circumstances, their dependents. This program requires you have sufficient work history to have accumulated work credits. It also requires you do not earn more than a pre-defined “substantial” income each month.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – which is a program under which children and adults with limited financial resources, including income and assets, can receive disability benefits, even without any work history.
To learn more about the specific requirements for SSDI and SSI, please visit: http://www.ssa.gov/disability/
To receive benefits through either disability program, you must meet the technical and medical eligibility criteria.
MS and Medical Eligibility for Benefits
As a progressive illness for which there is no cure, MS meets the basic medical eligibility criteria for disability benefits, but you must still show that your MS meets the severity level necessary to cause disability. In other words, you must prove through medical records that your MS prevents you from earning a living.
The SSA uses listings in the Blue Book to evaluate disability applications. These listings provide a base work for reviewing medical evidence. The MS Blue Book listing appears in section 11.09 and requires your medical records show at least one of the following:
- Pronounced and ongoing difficulty in controlling motor muscle movement
- Severe and persistent issues with vision and cognitive processes, including any of the following:
- Decrease in the visual field
- Memory issues
- Concentration problems
- Exertion-driven fatigue and loss of motor muscle control
For more information on applying for disability with Multiple Sclerosis, please visit: http://www.disability-benefits-help.org/disabling-conditions/multiple-sclerosis-and-social-security-disability
Qualifying without Meeting the Listing
Even if your MS does not meet the listing in Section 11.09, you can still potentially be found eligible for benefits, though in order to do so, you will likely need to go through appeals. To prove disability without meeting the listing, you must be able to show through your medical documentation and other records that your limitations are so severe that they prevent you from working.
To determine if you are eligible, the SSA will need to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) analysis which looks at your symptoms and everyday limitations, and the affect that these things have on your ability to perform daily functions, including typical job duties.
If your RFC analysis shows severe enough limitations to prevent employment, then the SSA will grant you benefits under a medical vocational allowance.
The Application Process and What to Expect
Collect as many of your medical records as possible before applying for benefits and provide those to the SSA at the time you apply. You can submit your application online and follow-up by providing your records to your local SSA office, or you can complete your application at the local office, with the assistance of an SSA representative. Just be sure to schedule an appointment to avoid delays and walk-ins are typically turned away, with an appointment date for when to return.
The application will require extensive information on not just your medical history, but also your:
- work history,
- activities of daily living,
- and financial situation.
The application is long and involved and the review and determination process is as well. You should be prepared to wait at least three to four months for an initial decision on your claim. You should also be prepared to file appeals, if you are denied. If your application is denied, you should strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with you claim.
Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help
THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY RAM MEYYAPPAN ON BEHALF OF SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY HELP.
It is my hope to provide my readers with as many resources and as much information as I can. Although I have not had to entertain the idea of having to apply for either SSI or SSDI, I have heard many stories of frustration and desperation. If you ARE in need of help/assistance, PLEASE reach out to Ram via the blog:
OR For more information on applying for disability with Multiple Sclerosis, please visit: