Can I still work if I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?

While multiple sclerosis (MS) patients may continue working for years after their diagnoses, the disease is often aggravated by stress. Both mental and physical labor can bring on physical symptoms, making it nearly impossible to tell when the benefits of working outweigh the problems that your job cause.

MS Patients May Suffer Mental Conditions That Make it Difficult to Work

In addition to pain, immobility, and other physical symptoms, MS sufferers commonly experience mental changes caused by chronic illness, side effects of medications, frustration with their limitations, or even as a result of the condition itself. Patients may suffer mood changes, confusion, irritability, and forgetfulness. In addition, many struggle with extreme fatigue and the need to rest for long periods.

If you are experiencing mental or emotional changes as a result of MS, you may be eligible for Social Security disability payments. The Social Security Administration will evaluate your ability to work despite your condition, also called your residual functional capacity (RFC). Your RFC for mental side effects may include your:

  • Cognitive capacity. Memory loss and lack of concentration are common in MS patients, so you should outline any limitations you have experienced in your ability to remember, understand, and carry out instructions. If you have difficulty sleeping or are so tired that you have difficulty finishing tasks, your sleep disturbances and fatigue may qualify you for benefits.
  • Social capacity. Extreme mental or emotional changes may make it difficult to get along with others or conform to social conventions in the workplace. In addition, anxiety about your condition can make going into your workplace unnecessarily stressful.
  • Learning capacity. Social Security will consider if there are any other jobs you could do before they approve you for benefits.
  • If you are having trouble with your benefits application, we can help. Send us an email at [email protected] today to get answers to your questions, or click the link on this page to order our free informational guide, Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Social Security Disability Claim.
Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience