Qualifying for Disability Benefits (SSDI) with Multiple Sclerosis in Pennsylvania
Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating illness which can lead to medical symptoms like vision loss, chronic fatigue, lack of coordination, muscle weakness, loss of balance, urinary problems, difficulty concentrating, and numbness or tingling in the limbs. When you live with MS, these symptoms can severely limit or completely destroy your ability to work, making employment impossible.
If you cannot work because of your health, and are worried about how you’re going to afford your medication and pay your bills, monthly disability benefits may be the perfect solution. The Social Security Administration offers two types of benefits for disabled people, called SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). SSI and SSDI can help to cover your living costs — but first you have to qualify. Our Pennsylvania disability lawyers can help you get there.
At Young, Marr & Associates, our dedicated legal team has more than 20 years of experience representing thousands of clients in Pennsylvania. Our results speak for themselves, with a success rate close to 90% compared to the average industry success rate of just 62%. To learn more about how we can help in a free and confidential case evaluation, call our law offices at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania today.
SSA Requirements for Monthly Disability Benefits
There are really two sets of eligibility requirements for all disability claimants. On one level, there are the basic criteria, which apply to all applicants. Then, there are the medical criteria taken from the “Blue Book” or Listing of Impairments, which vary from claimant to claimant depending on his or her condition. Before we start exploring the specific medical requirements for MS claimants, let’s make sure you meet the general requirements first.
- You need to have a disabling medical condition which is so severe that it stops you from working, or strictly limits how much work you can do each month. If your condition is relatively mild and easy to control with medication, the SSA will find that you are not severely disabled and therefore do not qualify for financial assistance.
- You cannot be earning too much income. The SSA expresses income limits as “SGA,” where your monthly earnings indicate how much “Substantial Gainful Activity” you are able to perform. If your monthly income surpasses the SGA limit, the SSA will determine that you are working on a regular basis and are therefore not disabled.
- Your condition must be long-term, meaning either it has already lasted for at least 12 months, is expected to last for at least 12 months, or is expected to result in death. If you have a very advanced condition and need immediate assistance, you might qualify for expedited claims processing.
SSA Medical Criteria for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Claims
The medical requirements for MS claimants can be found in the Listing of Impairments at Section 11.00 (Neurological Disorders) under 11.09 (Multiple Sclerosis). You must experience at least one of the following:
- “Disorganization of motor function,” meaning at least two of your limbs are affected, resulting in difficulty walking or using your hands.
- “Visual or mental impairment.”
- Significant physical fatigue with “substantial muscle weakness on repetitive activity” (such as repeatedly lifting objects). This fatigue/weakness must (1) be caused by “neurological dysfunction in areas of the central nervous system” associated with MS symptoms, and (2) be proven by a medical examination.
Even if your claim cannot precisely match the Listing’s MS requirements, you could still qualify by either equaling the criteria, or by matching a different part of the Listing. For example, even if your MS itself fails to qualify, you may still be able to qualify based on vision loss or other symptoms caused by your MS.
When claimants do not match the Listing’s criteria, but are still able to demonstrate that their symptoms are severely disabling, it is called a medical-vocational allowance. Many people qualify this way, as the Listing can be extremely technical and difficult to match.
Our Philadelphia + Bucks County Disability Lawyers Can Help
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, our social security attorneys can help you explore your family’s options when it comes to filing for benefits or appealing an SSA denial. We proudly serve residents of Eastern Pennsylvania and offer free initial consultations for new clients.
Disability claims can take months or even longer to process, so don’t wait another day. Call Young, Marr & Associates right away at (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania to start discussing how our attorneys can help.