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Multiple Sclerosis and Social Security Disability

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, encompassing the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It is generally a progressive disease and may eventually become debilitating for some. Loss of coordination, weakness in the extremities, tremors, vision problems, fatigue, bowel and bladder problems, diminished coordination, difficulty speaking, and depression are a few of its hallmark symptoms.

These symptoms sometimes make it a challenge, or impossible, to continue working. Research has shown that roughly 50 percent of those diagnosed with MS will have to leave their jobs within three years of diagnosis. Applying for Social Security Disability (SSD) may be necessary.

MS has a specific listing in Social Security's blue book listing impairments. To qualify, you must receive a diagnosis of MS, and your disability must have lasted to be expected to last 12 months or more. You can also qualify under listings of other bodily systems affected by MS.

Some patients experience episodic forms of MS, which means they have symptoms for a period of time, the symptoms then diminish or disappear (remission), and return at a later date. Social Security this MS feature and takes it into account in their evaluation process.

You may also qualify for SSD benefits based on your residual function capacity (RFC) test, which evaluates your physical, mental, and sensory limitations. Social Security will factor in available jobs, your education and experience, and your age to determine if you are able to do any other work.


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