For those suffering with multiple sclerosis (MS), your condition may be severe enough to give you difficulties with standing, balancing, walking, or fine motor function. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) includes multiple sclerosis as one of the listed conditions that could potentially qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD). For help applying, or for representation while fighting a denial, contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer. Fayetteville AR disability lawyer Ken Kieklak helps Arkansans file applications, provide the SSA with evidence to prove their condition, and fight denials to help disabled individuals get the benefits they need. For a free consultation on your disability case, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today.
Does the SSA Recognize MS for Disability Applications?
The SSA keeps a “Listing of Impairments” that qualify for disability. This list, sometimes called the “Blue Book,” is never the ultimate deciding factor of whether or not you qualify for disability payments. However, having a listed condition does help show the SSA that your condition is severe and you need disability benefits.
The SSA lists multiple sclerosis under its neurological disorders. Most people with MS understand that MS is typically associated with the immune system, but the SSA lists it with neurological disorders. Since MS is a disorder characterized by an immune system that attacks the lining of the nerves, it is easiest for the SSA to group it with neurological disorders, rather than immune system disorders. If you were already researching multiple sclerosis’ eligibility for SSD, it may have been difficult to locate MS on the listing because of this organization – but rest assured that MS is indeed listed in the SSA’s accepted disabilities.
If your condition is listed on the SSA’s list of conditions, the SSA automatically recognizes that these conditions can be quite severe, and sees that they may require SSD payments. In addition to having a listed condition, you must prove to the SSA that you are in fact “disabled,” by showing the condition is “severe.” To qualify as disabled, your condition must be severe enough that it affects your day-to-day life, and makes job tasks difficult.
Qualifying For SSD With Multiple Sclerosis
Sometimes, people suffering from MS may not be totally incapacitated, and may be able to perform some work tasks. In many cases, however, your MS may be severe enough to make many of these tasks extremely difficult or painful. The SSA should take into account what you can do comfortably, rather than what tasks you could possibly perform.
If you are still able to work to some extent with your MS, the SSA has tools for determining your eligibility. The question involved with this aspect of your application is whether your condition is truly severe enough to require disability benefits. If you can work to some extent, but doing so is slow and difficult, or you can only work for limited hours or days, you may still qualify for disability.
If you can still work, the SSA may gauge your ability to perform “substantial gainful activity.” If you are able to perform work-related tasks, but by doing so you are not able to make at least $1,170 per month, the SSA should consider your condition severe enough to qualify for SSD. This $1,170 per month figure is the standard the SSA has chosen for 2017 as the minimum amount you need to be gainfully employed and support yourself. (If you are also blind, this number is raised to $1,950 per month.) If your MS makes it impossible to work at a job that can give you this minimum level of income, then you may be eligible for disability income.
Keep in mind that “disability benefits” usually come in two forms. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) is available to Americans who have worked for many years and accumulated “work credits.” These individuals may be able to claim Social Security benefits for their disability whether they have reached retirement age or not – though there may be a penalty for taking benefits earlier. Alternatively, those who have not worked or have not accumulated enough credits may qualify for the need-based Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Either way, through SSDI or SSI, you must first qualify with a severe, listed condition to get the benefits.
When you apply for disability, the SSA will examine your application, look at your work credits, and determine whether you qualify for benefits – and which type you qualify for. Having an attorney assist with your application can help you ensure that your application contains all of the information and evidence needed to make your application full and accurate.
Fayetteville Disability Attorney for Multiple Sclerosis
If you have multiple sclerosis and are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, talk to an experienced Arkansas disability attorney today. For a free consultation on your disability application or denial, call Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law, today at (479) 316-0438.
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