Why getting SSD benefits when you have MS can be a challenge

Dec 18, 2021 | Social Security Disability

A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) can be devastating. However, no two people with MS experience it precisely the same way. It is a progressive, chronic disease. However, most people diagnosed with it have what is called “relapsing-remitting” MS – at least initially. With this type of MS, a person typically experiences periods where their MS is in remission, interspersed with flare-ups where their symptoms can be painful and limiting.

Although there are far more treatment options for MS than there used to be, there’s still no “cure.” For most MS sufferers, the disease will become more debilitating as nerve damage spreads. It can cause difficulties with muscle coordination, speech, vision and even breathing.

Applying for SSD when you have MS

If you’ve reached a point in the progression of the disease where you’re no longer able to earn a living and are considering applying for Social Security Disability (SSD), you should know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes MS as a qualifying condition for SSD.  However, you need more than a diagnosis to qualify for benefits.

In addition to a doctor’s diagnosis of MS, you’ll need to provide supporting evidence of that diagnosis and its effects. An MRI or CT scan of your brain will likely show conclusive signs of MS. However, you’ll also need to provide information about how the disease affects your ability to work. The more information you share with your doctor, the better they can help get you the necessary evidence.

Sometimes keeping a journal of your symptoms when the MS is at its worse is helpful. That way, even if you happen to see your doctor on one of your “better” days, they can have the information they need to give your SSD application a better chance of approval.

Don’t neglect to tell your doctor about the mental and emotional toll that MS has taken on you. If you’re seeing a therapist for depression, anxiety or other disorder, they can also help with documentation. Sometimes, MS comes with seemingly unrelated comorbidities such as heart disease. It’s crucial to document these too.

If you’re struggling to get approval for SSD benefits, consider legal guidance to help you get the benefits you need and deserve.