You were first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis years ago, and you’ve been trying to make the best of it ever since. Every twinge, every day that you have blurry vision, you start to wonder if the effects of your condition are finally starting to show. You know that stress can bring on episodes, or even make the effects worse—so you try to take each day as it comes. However, there’s no harm in preparing for the future: Should you apply for benefits now, or wait until your symptoms have progressed to the point that you can no longer work?
Social Security Approval for Multiple Sclerosis Depends on Medical Evidence
In most cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will not grant disability benefits for multiple sclerosis (MS) unless you are impaired to the point that you can no longer do your job. However, you do not have to be consistently impaired. Because symptoms of MS will often come and go, you may be able to claim benefits because the unpredictability of your condition makes regular employment impossible.
The first step in getting your application approved is a positive diagnosis of MS. You will need to provide many different sources of medical evidence to the SSA, including:
- MRI. The most conclusive test to diagnose MS is a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An MRI machine can detect demyelination, or plaque, caused by multiple sclerosis in up to 95 percent of MS patients.
- Spinal tap. A spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, can support a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis n some cases but is no longer used as a ddagnostic tool as often..
- Secondary methods. If an MRI or spinal tap suggests a positive result for MS, your doctor may order additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. An electroencephalograph (EEG), computerized axial tomography (CT scans), or x-rays can act as supporting medical evidence.
- Vision testing. Eye tests are not used to confirm a MS diagnosis, but can help the SSA understand the level of your impairment. You should undergo eye tests that can detect a loss of visual acuity or peripheral vision.
- Physician recommendations. Both your condition and your treatment will be considered when assessing the level of your disability, so make sure to outline your symptoms as well as limitations caused by your medication and appointments.
Many patients gather their records from the MS Center in Lincoln or the UNMC MS Clinic. This is helpful but not necessary as either SSA will obrtain those records oryour attorney can obtain them and provide them to SSA. Before you send in your application, read through our guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case, or click the contact link on this page to get help now.