You are entitled to Social Security Disability benefits if you have multiple sclerosis and are unable to work. But you must have strong medical evidence to support your claim and meet the technical eligibility requirements. Working with an experienced disability attorney increases your chances of obtaining these vital public benefits.
The Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC assists individuals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and throughout Texas with disability claims and has an impressive track record of success. We understand the challenges of coping with immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and will work tirelessly to get you the disability benefits you need and deserve. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.
Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheaths surrounding the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, disrupting nerve signals to and from the brain. Damage to the nerves causes unpredictable symptoms such as:
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
Everyone’s symptoms are different, and some may experience a squeezing sensation around the stomach (dysesthesia) called the “MS hug.” Other symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, tremors, chronic pain, and cognitive problems.
The cause of MS is unknown, but scientists believe immunology, genetics, and infectious agents play a role:
- Immunological factors – T cells and B cells become activated and release chemicals, antibodies, and proteins in the bloodstream that cause inflammation and damage to the central nervous system.
- Genetic factors – MS is not believed to be inherited, but some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing the disease.
- Infectious factors – Viruses, including measles and Epstein-Barr virus, are being investigated to determine if there is a link to the development of MS.
Multiple sclerosis is not curable. However, the progression of the disease can be managed by various injectable, oral, and infused medications (e.g, interferon, fumarate, and mitoxantrone).
Does Multiple Sclerosis Qualify For Disability Benefits?
For the Social Security Administration (SSA) to consider multiple sclerosis a disability, you must meet the requirements of the Blue Book listing for this neurological disorder.
In particular, MS is characterized by disorganization of motor function with the movement of two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in your ability to:
- Stand up from a seated position
- Balance while standing or walking
- Use the fingers, wrists, hands, arms, and shoulders
The SSA also considers MS a disability when the disease results in marked limitation in physical functioning and one of the following:
- Understanding, remembering, or using information
- Interacting with others
- Managing oneself
You are entitled to disability benefits if your MS prevents you from working. Still, it takes a skilled disability attorney to guide you through all aspects of the claims process, from submitting your application to filing an appeal and representing you at the disability hearing.
Proving Your MS Claim
To qualify for disability benefits, you must meet the requirements for MS described above and demonstrate that your capacity to perform substantial gainful activity has been severely limited.
Your claim must be supported by medical evidence, including:
- Neurologist’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis
- Proof of demyelination from an MRI
- Spinal tap that shows increased myelin proteins
- Evidence of disrupted nerve impulses from evoked potential studies (measuring electrical activity in the brain in response to stimulation of sight, sound, or touch)
Impairments that qualify for MS disability benefits include:
- Visual impairment
- Mental impairment involving behavioral and psychological abnormalities
- Persistent motor function disorganization – paralysis, paresis, ataxia, tremor, and sensory disturbances
- Significant motor function fatigue
- Considerable muscle weakness when performing repetitive activities
A long-term record of symptoms and impairments provided by your primary care physician will help to support your claim as well as detailed information about the limitations imposed on your day-to-day functioning.
How We Can Help With Your MS Disability Claim
When you become our client, our experienced disability attorneys will determine whether you have a valid claim, work closely with your doctor to gather the medical record supporting your claim, and assist with filing your application.
Be prepared for a long and challenging process: only 30 percent of initial disability claims are approved. If the SSA denies your claim, you have a right to an appeal and must file a request for reconsideration within 60 days. Here, a disability examiner and consultant who did not participate in the initial determination will review your claim. There are additional steps you must take if they deny your request, but you can count on us to be at your side. We know the ins and outs of the SSA system and have longstanding professional relationships with disability examiners that improve your chances of success.
Contact Our Experienced Texas Disability Attorneys
If you or a loved one cannot work due to multiple sclerosis, let the Law Office of Carey Thompson guide you through the benefits claim process. We have a well-earned reputation as dedicated advocates who provide our clients with compassionate representation and exceptional personal service. Contact our office today to get started with an experienced disability lawyer.