When multiple sclerosis makes it physically and mentally impossible for you to work, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can help support you financially. Understanding how to apply for disability benefits can be challenging, particularly if you do not meet all of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) medical criteria.
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, can help you apply for disability for multiple sclerosis. We can review your application before you file to ensure you meet the SSA’s requirements for disability. For a free consultation, call us at 865-566-0800 today.
Does Multiple Sclerosis Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Multiple sclerosis is a serious autoimmune disease that can cause muscle spasms, blurred vision, weakness, and neurological issues. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but patients can take medications and undergo therapy to delay the progression of the disease. However, many of these patients are unable to work, even with treatment.
The SSA considers you disabled if we can show how your medical condition interferes with your ability to work. Our attorneys can determine whether you qualify for benefits and assist with your application.
What Medical Criteria Do I Need to Meet for Benefits?
The SSA awards benefits to applicants whose medical conditions are severe enough to prevent them from working. In order to determine if a medical condition qualifies as disabling, the organization maintains a list of qualifying medical conditions called the Blue Book. If your medical condition is in the Blue Book, your condition will qualify as a disability, as long as you meet all the criteria listed.
Multiple sclerosis is in Section 11.09 of the Blue Book. The SSA considers the condition disabling if you suffer from a disorganization in motor function that limits your ability to stand up, balance, or use your upper extremities. If you do not meet this requirement, you can still qualify if your condition markedly limits your physical functioning and causes one of the following side effects:
- Trouble comprehending and remembering information;
- Problems interacting with others socially;
- An inability to concentrate, maintain a steady pace, or persist long enough to complete a task; or
- Issues adapting to new situations or managing yourself.
Our attorneys can examine your medical history to help determine if you meet the SSA’s medical criteria for benefits.
What If I Do Not Meet the Criteria Listed in the Blue Book?
Not every patient with multiple sclerosis will meet the criteria listed in the SSA’s Blue Book. In such cases, the patient will have to provide evidence to establish that their medical condition prohibits them from working.
In order to evaluate how your condition affects your ability to work, the SSA will determine your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC refers to the maximum work you are able to perform. Your doctor may complete your RFC by evaluating your ability to perform typical work-related tasks, such as sitting, standing, walking, and lifting. If your multiple sclerosis prevents you from performing these activities, you may qualify for benefits.
You Must Also Meet Additional Criteria to Qualify for Disability Benefits.
Before the SSA will award disability benefits, it will determine if you meet the criteria for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These criteria involve your work history and income.
How to Qualify for SSDI Benefits
SSDI is a government-run insurance program for U.S. workers. To qualify for benefits, you must have paid sufficient premiums via payroll taxes on your paycheck. Before approving your application, the SSA will examine your age, work history, and monthly income to see if you qualify for SSDI.
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits under the program, you need have a certain number of work credits accumulated from your years in the workforce. Our attorneys can examine your work history to determine if you have earned enough credits to qualify for SSDI benefits.
How to Qualify for SSI Benefits
If you do not have enough work credits, you may still be able to qualify for benefits under the SSI program. SSI is a need-based program. While there are no work requirements under this program, you will need to establish that you earn below the SSA’s income limits each month. You must also have few personal assets.
Our attorneys can look at your finances to determine if you qualify for SSI.
What Proof Does the SSA Need to Evaluate My Claim?
When a claims examiner from the SSA evaluates your claim, they use specific medical evidence to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. Our attorneys can help you provide them with the following information to help them make their decision.
This is the most important part of any disability benefits claim. Your medical records will detail your condition, symptoms, prognosis, treatments, and other essential information. It is essential that the SSA sees documentation of how your medical condition has affected you, as well as how you have responded to treatment.
Age, Educational Background, and Job History
All of these factors impact your chances at receiving benefits, particularly if you are using your RFC to qualify. If you are older, have little education, or have only worked in unskilled labor, it may be more difficult for you to adapt to new work. In a case like this, the SSA is more likely to award benefits.
In addition to your records, the claims examiner may require you to attend a consultative medical exam to evaluate your condition. The SSA will use this evaluation to determine whether you qualify for benefits.
With multiple sclerosis, it is especially important to provide test results that establish your diagnosis. MRIs, lumbar punctures, and other test results can be helpful in proving the severity of your condition to the SSA.
Our Attorneys Can Help With Your Disability Claim.
Filing a claim for disability benefits when you are struggling with multiple sclerosis can be challenging. The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, are here to help. We help people file their disability benefit applications and appeals every day. Call 865-566-0800 to find out how we can help you get the benefits you need to support yourself and your family.