Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive and debilitating medical condition. It affects the brain and spine, also known as the central nervous system. Issues with damage to nerves and inflammation can impact how effectively the brain communicates with the rest of the body.
Those diagnosed with MS may initially have minor symptoms that become progressively worse. A recent diagnosis with MS might leave you worried that you will soon need to leave your job or require support every day just to live on your own.
Over the course of your career so far, you have made regular payroll contributions to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Those payments help fund various benefits. Although you may have expected to make a claim for Social Security retirement pay, you may need support before you reach retirement age because of your MS. Can you expect to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for a recent MS diagnosis?
MS is a condition that varies dramatically from case to case
Unlike other degenerative neurological conditions, a diagnosis with MS is not always a guarantee of a total and lasting disability. Some people have minor issues with pain, fatigue or walking evenly but can generally continue to live their lives as before their diagnosis. Others may have numbness, blurry vision and a drastic reduction in physical strength.
Although the condition typically worsens over time, it progresses much more slowly in some people than in others. Some people with MS will even go into remission and go months or years without any noticeable symptoms.
Essentially, a diagnosis with multiple sclerosis on its own does not instantly qualify you for SSDI benefits. Instead, you will need medical documentation and other evidence that demonstrates how the condition affects you specifically and limits your ability to work or live on your own.
Those with MS may face challenges getting benefits
Given that MS presents so differently, careful attention to detail and accurate documentation are key to a successful claim. The willingness to appeal is also important, as applicants initially rejected may get the benefits they require after a reconsideration or a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
Understanding your rights when seeking SSDI benefits for multiple sclerosis will improve your chances of a successful claim.