If you struggle just to go about your daily life with multiple sclerosis, working a typical job just isn't an option. Fortunately, MS is covered by the US government under social security disability insurance. However, the process of applying for these payments is a long and complex one, so you need to be prepared to undergo intense scrutiny when you file your claim.
Qualifying For Disability With MS
Unfortunately, not all patients with multiple sclerosis qualify for disability payments. If you think you should qualify for financial aid due to your disability, you'll need to meet one of the following criteria to qualify:
- You must be impaired in at least two limbs. Tremors, paralysis, partial paralysis, and involuntary movements all qualify as impairment for this purpose.
- Your eyesight must be impaired beyond correction with glasses or other devices. Specifically, your eyesight must be at least as poor as 20/200 even after laser restorative surgery and while wearing glasses.
- Significant mental changes impair your ability to function normally, such as a drastic drop in IQ, loss of short term or long term memory, or significant, untreatable mood disturbances.
- Your central nervous system causes muscle fatigue or muscle weakness that prevents you from functioning at a normal capacity.
Proving Your MS Is Serious
If you experience one or more of the symptoms necessary to qualify for disability payments, you'll need to have a way of proving it to the court. Unfortunately, simply testifying that you cannot cope unassisted is not enough. Depending on your symptoms, you'll need to undergo one or more tests to prove your disability. You'll also need the testimony of an expert in the field of your disabling condition to strengthen your case.
Lumbar Punctures: while somewhat painful, one of these tests can be extremely helpful to your disability case, since they are 85% accurate for diagnosing MS. They also can rule out diseases that present similarly to MS, allowing you to demonstrate that it is your sclerosis causing your disability and not an undiagnosed condition.
MRI Exam: these tests are 96% accurate at diagnosing patients who suffer from demyliniation due to MS. However, an MRI is not strong enough on its own to prove your case, since it does not attest to any physical impairments and does not rule out other demyliniation-causing diseases.
EEGs, CT Scans, and X-Rays: None of these tests are enough to prove you have MS or that you are disabled on their own. However, with a proven diagnosis of MS, these tests can demonstrate the extent of your disability by showing damaged areas of your brain or skeleton.
Doctor's Testimony: If you are disabled by one or more physical aspects of your MS, you will need testimony from your doctor attesting to the severity of your condition. Your doctor has years of experience treating you personally, so you should do your best to secure him or her as your expert medical witness. The testimony of a medical professional who has worked with you extensively will be worth more to a judge than the testimony of one who has only recently examined you.
Psychiatrist's Testimony: Similarly, if you suffered a decrease in IQ or memory retention, or you experience mood swings as a result of your condition, you will need your personal psychiatrist to testify on your behalf at your disability hearing. For the reason mentioned above, you should strive to have your psychologist appear in court, rather than one who has not treated you for very long.
Multiple sclerosis can make your life incredibly difficult even without a job. If you're planning to file for social security disability insurance payments, you should contact your local disability attorney, someone like the lawyers at the Law Offices Of Russell J. Goldsmith, and talk about your options. You might just qualify for the financial assistance you need to get your life back to normal.