What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, commonly referred to as MS, is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. The often disabling condition affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide. MS is an autoimmune disease; meaning a person’s own immune system attacks their body’s healthy cells. When a person suffers from MS their immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers (axons) resulting in localized inflammation that disrupts the flow of information in their nervous system; made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves.
Symptoms of MS can vary greatly and diagnosing the disease can be challenging. More women are likely to develop MS and the disease typically presents itself between the ages of 20 and 40. The severity of the nerve damage and which nerves are affected determines the expression of the disease and the limitations ensued. People with MS may experience fatigue, dizziness, numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, prolonged double vision, tingling or pain in the body, unsteady walking, tremors, chronic pain, cognitive disruption, and slurred speech. Some people with MS experience the loss of the ability to walk independently.
There is no cure for MS at this time, however there are many medications available that mange the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. The earlier a person can catch MS; the sooner treatment can begin to provide symptom relief and limit the impact of this potentially devastating disease. Unfortunately, MS is considered a progressive disease and over time symptoms are likely to get worse and more debilitating.
Those with MS can experience different progressions of the disease. There are four progression types of MS including Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS), Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS), and Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS).
Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)
RRMS is the most common disease course and is characterized by clearly defined episodes, known as relapses or exacerbations. The attacks are then followed by periods of complete or partial recovery, referred to as remission.
Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)
PPMS is characterized by progressively worsening neurological function from the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remission.
Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
SPMS course has an initial relapsing-remitting course and then transitions into a progressive course in which there is a progression of worsening neurological function over time.
Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)
PRMS is the least common course of MS. Like PPMS, PRMS is characterized by a progressive worsening of the condition; however, there is also occasional relapse episodes of intensified symptoms.
Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability?
Knowing if your MS symptoms qualify you for Social Security Disability can be extremely frustrating and confusing. As previously noted, there are a variety of symptoms and expressions of the disease, as well as different levels of progression a person with MS can experience. How can a person decipher if their symptoms and disease progression allows them to seek disability benefits?
In general, to receive disability benefits a person must show an inability to perform gainful employment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets certain criteria for specific disorders outlining the limitations necessary to qualify to receive benefits. In regards to MS, the SSA specifies the following; severe visual impairments, mental impairments involving behavioral and psychological abnormalities, persistent motor function disorganization in the form of paralysis or paresis, ataxia, tremor, and sensory disturbances, and significant motor function fatigue with considerable muscle weakness.
In order to meet the specified criteria and present a qualifying case, it is vital to demonstrate a person’s limitations imposing on their ability to maintain employment. Medical evidence and records are the key to establishing the necessary record of the disease progression and symptoms. Substantial evidence that will strengthen a case include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showing demyelination, a spinal tap indicating higher levels of myelin basic protein, and evoked potential tests showing evidence of slowed, confused, or haltered nerve impulse control.
Every case is different because every person suffering from MS is experiencing the disease in a different way. You may not have the clear evidence listed above and may still be a worthy candidate for disability benefits.
If the following symptoms of MS prevent you from working you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
- Difficulty remembering
- Extreme fatigue
- Speech Impairments
You’ve got enough to worry about, let Viner Disability Law help you navigate the disability process. From the initial application process to the hearing to federal court, we do it all.
Call now for a free case evaluation 720-515-9012