Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the central nervous system and interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. It is a progressive disease that worsens over time, but its cause is not yet fully understood. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that over 400,000 individuals in the United States have multiple sclerosis. If you or a loved one has been affected by this disease, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates have over two decades of experience helping Massachusetts claimants suffering from many types of immune and neurological disorders. We will guide you through the application process as you assert your right to the benefits appropriate for your situation.Receiving SSDI Based on Multiple Sclerosis
If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and are unable to work, you may be entitled to social security disability benefits (SSDI) from the federal government. Multiple sclerosis is recognized as a listed impairment by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This means that the government acknowledges that it is a medical condition that can be so severe as to impair an individual’s ability to work.
Multiple sclerosis is covered under Section 11.09 of the Listings, a manual used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that sets forth certain symptoms and impairments that generally will qualify an applicant for benefits. However, it is important to understand that simply including a disorder like multiple sclerosis in this list is not enough to ensure that an individual suffering from it will receive benefits. To the contrary, there are specific requirements that must be met.
Under the rules of the Social Security Administration, individuals with multiple sclerosis may receive SSDI if the disorder has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months, and the applicant’s condition is sufficiently severe as judged by the manifestation of certain symptoms. Under Section 11.09, this can be established by showing one of the following:
- You suffer from limited motor function in two extremities that has resulted in a chronic disturbance to movement or gait;
- You suffer visual impairments resulting in vision of 20/200 or less;
- You suffer from mental impairments that prevent you from working full-time; or
- You suffer from muscle fatigue and weakness as a result of neurological dysfunction.
These conditions can be established by medical evidence and statements from your doctor that substantiate the severity of your disease.
Even if you cannot meet the specific requirements set forth in the multiple sclerosis listing, this does not necessarily mean that you are ineligible for government benefits based on your condition. You may still be able to establish that your disorder prevents you from working and qualifies you for disability benefits by submitting a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. This process examines the evaluations and comments of your treating physician, as well as your own testimony regarding the limitations and difficulties you experience.
The purpose of an RFC assessment is to determine not whether you can engage in the work that you previously did, but whether you are able to engage in any form of work that exists in the national economy. It does not even need to exist in your geographical region. A vocational expert may testify for SSA about certain occupations in which you could perform core job duties despite your condition. Since this standard is difficult for a claimant to satisfy, it is essential to consult an experienced attorney who can help you gather a strong array of evidence and prepare to counter opposing arguments.Pursue Disability Benefits with the Help of a Massachusetts Attorney
Applying for SSDI on the basis of your multiple sclerosis diagnosis can be a complicated and time-consuming process. You may need to determine whether you qualify under the SSA listings or whether an RFC assessment is needed. Medical evidence must also be compiled, and statements from physicians and family members need to be collected. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our disability benefits attorneys are skilled in helping Massachusetts residents apply for SSDI in a manner that is clear and straightforward. We will help you to prepare a strong application for your claims or work with you to appeal for benefits if your initial claim was denied. For more information, please contact us at (800) 367-0871 or through our online form. We proudly represent clients in Boston and throughout Norfolk, Essex, Suffolk, Plymouth, and Middlesex Counties.