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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Social Security Disability
Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS, disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis, is a disease that affects the central nervous system of the body. When an individual suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, the brain and the spinal cord begin to degenerate. The condition can cause debilitating symptoms that often leave an individual unable to maintain employment. Because they are unable to work, these individuals suffer serious financial consequences that are usually compounded by mounting medical bills. In some cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help offset some of the financial stress. If you have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and are unable to work because of your condition, you may want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The following information can help you prepare for your Social Security Disability claim and shed some light on how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims based on a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis - Condition and Symptoms
Multiple Sclerosis affects up to 150 out of every 100,000 people. The condition is more prevalent in females than it is in males and usually develops between the ages of twenty and fifty. When a person develops Multiple Sclerosis, the fatty myelin sheaths surrounding the axons of the brain and spinal cord become damaged. This leads to scarring and demyelination, causing the person to suffer a wide range of debilitating symptoms.
When Multiple Sclerosis develops, it prevents the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord from communicating effectively with one another, causing the body to attack its own myelin. As the myelin becomes damaged, the body's axons can no longer conduct the signals that are necessary for nerve cells to communicate. This results in a broad range of symptoms including weakness of the limbs, muscle spasms, visual disturbances, loss of sensation, tremors, dizziness, speech impediments, paranoia, mood swings and uncontrollable urges to laugh or cry.
It is still not clear what causes Multiple Sclerosis. Research indicates that genetics may play a role, but there is no conclusive evidence pointing to one specific cause of the condition. Unfortunately, once Multiple Sclerosis develops, there is no cure for the condition. Treatment, however, is available to manage the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms and to slow the progress of the disease.
When diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis, a doctor will order a number of tests including neurological tests, magnetic resonance imaging tests, lumbar and spinal taps and blood analysis. It is crucial that the disease be diagnosed as early as possible in order to slow the progression of the symptoms.
Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis will vary from patient to patient. There are two methods of treatment, one to address the symptoms of attacks and one to slow the progress of the condition. Corticosteroid medications can be prescribed to treat the attacks of Multiple Sclerosis. Severe symptoms can be treated with a plasma exchange procedures. To slow the progress of the disease, a doctor may prescribe beta interferons, Glatiramer, Fingolimod, Natalizumab or Mitoxantrone. In some cases, physical therapy, muscle relaxers, fatigue-reducing medications and other medications may be prescribed.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Multiple Sclerosis
Prior to applying for Social Security Disability, discuss your claim with your treating physicians. You will want them to help you gather the evidence and medical records necessary to support your claim. It is important that you provide as much information as possible when submitting your application to the SSA in order to increase your chances of receiving an approval.
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the individual who reviews your claim will refer to a published listing of impairments called the Blue Book. Multiple Sclerosis is covered in these listings under Section 11.09 of the publication. A diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, however, is not enough in and of itself to qualify you for disability benefits. You will need medical documentation proving that your case of Multiple Sclerosis meets the guidelines set forth by the SSA or that your condition completely prevents you from being able to perform substantial gainful work activity.
Multiple Sclerosis and Your Social Security Disability Case
The majority of Social Security Disability claims received by the SSA are denied during the initial phase of the disability application process. In fact, 70 percent of initial applications are denied by the SSA. If you have enough medical evidence showing that your condition meets the SSA's published guidelines, your claim may be one of the 30 percent that are approved during the initial stage of the application process. If your claim for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, do not give up hope. Nearly two-thirds of applicants are awarded benefits after having their case heard before an administrative law judge.
It is important, however, that you have proper legal representation during the Social Security Disability application process. Statistics show that your chances of successfully filing a disability claim are increased with the help of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney.
Multiple Sclerosis Resource
For more information on Multiple Sclerosis, please visit MS Views and News<.>
The Mission of 'MS Views and News' is dedicated to the global collection and distribution of current information concerning Multiple Sclerosis. In collaboration with other organizations, 'MS Views and News' uses state-of-the-art communication channels to provide information for those affected by, or interested in MS, via live seminars and via the internet.
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