There are some types of pain and fatigue that you can work through, and other types will make working difficult to impossible. Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that often creates symptoms that are so severe that people have difficulties going to work and adequately performing their jobs. In these situations, getting the disability benefits necessary to pay bills is important. Anyone who thinks that they have multiple sclerosis and is having difficulties going to work should know about the symptoms and treatments of MS, and they should find out whether or not they qualify for disability benefits.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis, also shorted to MS, is a neurological condition in which the immune system attacks the outer covering of nerve cells. This results in a miscommunication between the brain and body, and many symptoms can arise because of these miscommunications. Vision problems is one of the most common problems that people report. Problems with coordination, hearing, and feelings of dizziness are also common.
No one knows for sure why some people develop multiple sclerosis when the rest of the population doesn’t, but genetics is likely a large determining factor. In fact, people who have a sibling with multiple sclerosis are at a much higher chance of developing the disease, too.
Age is another risk factor, with 20 to 40 being the age range when onset is most likely to occur. Additionally, women are between two and three times as likely as men to develop relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Caucasian people in climates similar to those in the northern U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Europe are at higher risk of developing the disease than people of African descent, Asian, and Native American descent. Smoking can also put people at a higher risk of developing the disease. Finally, auto-immune disorders, such as psoriasis, type I diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, and thyroid disease are at a greater likelihood of developing multiple sclerosis.
Some people with multiple sclerosis will also develop depression as a complication to their symptoms because of an inability to control their symptoms. Epilepsy is another potential complication to multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Because multiple sclerosis affects the nerves at many points in the body, the exact symptoms present can vary from person to person and from one time to another. But there are some common symptoms that many people with multiple sclerosis experience.
A person’s ability to move is one of the areas where multiple sclerosis can be affected. For instance, some people might experience numbness or weakness on one side of the body, typically in the limbs or trunk. People might also experience instability, an unsteady gait, and tremors. Experiencing an electric shock sensation when they move their head is another potential symptom.
Vision may also be affected For instance, some patients notice that they have double vision or blurry vision for extended periods of time. Temporary vision loss in one eye with pain while moving the eye is also a possibility.
Multiple sclerosis can affect a person’s bowel and bladder movements and their sexual functions. Symptoms can present themselves as tingling throughout the body, dizziness, fatigue, slurred speech, or pain throughout the body.
Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
Since there isn’t a way to cure multiple sclerosis, treatment typically focuses on shortening the recovery time after an attack. Doctors will also focus on slowing the progression of the disease and managing the day-to-day symptoms.
When someone has a multiple sclerosis attack, there are a couple of drugs that are used to help speed recovery time. Corticosteroids, such as oral prednisone, are given to the patient to reduce inflammation. Some people also receive a plasma exchange, which is when they remove the plasma, mix a protein solution in with the red blood cells, then put the plasma and red blood cells back in the body.
To slow the progression of the disease, there are a couple of different treatments. The type of treatment plan that a person gets is dependent on the type of multiple sclerosis that they have. If they have primary-progressive multiple sclerosis, the only drug that a doctor can prescribe that’s also approved by the FDA has only a slight likelihood of slowing the progression of the disease. This drug is called Ocrevus.
For people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, there are a couple of kinds of treatment they can receive. They can get oral, injectable, or infusion treatments. Some of the oral treatments include dimethyl fumarate, teriflunomide, fingolimod, and cladribine. Infusion treatments include ocrelizumab, natalizumab, and alemtuzumab. Finally, injectable treatments include interferon beta medications and glatiramer acetate.
Other forms of treatment that are used to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis include physical therapy, muscle relaxers, and medications to reduce fatigue.
Making lifestyle changes can also make a positive impact in the severity of symptoms. Some of the things that people with multiple sclerosis should be incorporating into their lives is getting enough sleep, getting exercise, eating well, keeping the body cool, and using techniques to relieve stress.
Disability Benefits for Multiple Sclerosis
There is a specific listing for multiple sclerosis in the Blue Book, which is the listing of conditions that’s used by the Social Security Administration to determine who is eligible for benefits. People who meet this listing automatically receive benefits from the SSA.
To meet the listing for multiple sclerosis, a person must meet one of two sets of symptoms. The first way that they can meet the listing is if the applicant is unable to control the movement of at least two extremities, such as an arm and a leg. For instance, the patient might have extreme difficulties standing up, walking, standing from a seated position, or using their arms.
The other set of criteria that a person can meet to gain disability benefits involves a longer list of cognitive criteria. One of the first items on this list is the ability to think. For instance, they must have a marked inability to understand, remember, or apply information. The applicant must also be exhibiting social difficulties. Finally, they must be exhibiting difficulties with finishing tasks in a timely manner, which can involve concentration and persistence.
One of the first hurdles to overcome when seeking disability benefits for multiple sclerosis is getting sufficient evidence for the diagnosis. Doctors can misdiagnose their patients with multiple sclerosis, and there might need to be several tests that confirm the multiple sclerosis diagnosis. MRIs are one of the most common tests that can be given, but a spinal or lumbar puncture is another test.
Applicants who don’t meet the listing for multiple sclerosis can also apply with the residual functional capacity test, which will take the applicants symptoms and compare them to the jobs that they’ve done in the past. If the SSA determines that the symptoms prevent the applicant from doing all of the jobs that they’ve done in the past, then the applicant might be eligible for benefits.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to multiple sclerosis, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.