The National Multiple Sclerosis Society reports that about 40% of individuals in the U.S. who have multiple sclerosis receive either Social Security disability or private disability insurance. Symptoms can include problems with muscle control, mobility, balance, and vision, as well as chronic pain and fatigue.
If you or a family member has difficulty working because of MS symptoms, learn more about receiving Social Security disability insurance for this chronic illness.
SSDI medical criteria
The MS symptoms that create an inability to work fall into three different qualification categories. Some people who have MS cannot work because of cognitive and mental health complications the illness causes. Many individuals experience depression as well as issues with processing information, solving problems, attention and memory.
MS can also result in speech, communication and vision problems that affect the ability to work. The third category, neurological qualifications, covers people who cannot work because of MS symptoms affecting coordination, balance, mobility and control of the muscles.
SSDI eligibility requires that the person’s period of disability will last for at least 12 months. This can create a barrier for some individuals who have MS since the symptoms often flare for several weeks or months before a period of relief.
Application and documentation
To qualify for SSDI, the individual must provide careful documentation of MS symptoms that fall into these three categories, along with how these symptoms have impacted his or her ability to work. Gather medical records, contact information and letters from doctors who are willing to testify on your behalf, details about work history, and information about how MS has affected your work. During the application process, the Social Security Administration may reach out to your family, employer and health care providers.
During the application process, you can seek guidance from your local SSA field office as well as an attorney who specializes in SSDI. If SSA denies your application, you have the right to appeal.