Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease which inhibits the central nervous system, and is considered a disability under the social security disability blue book listing 11.09 (www.ssa.gov). MS is degenerative disease with no known cure. Symptoms of MS include: weakening of the muscles, balancing and coordination issues, visual instabilities, concentration and/or problems with memory, and a prevalent sensations of numbness and tingling. MS affects more women than it does men, and transpires between the ages of 20 and 40. This disease is very episodic in nature with very inconsistent periods of sickness. This can be a problem for individuals diagnosed with MS who are considering to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, as the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires disabilities to have lasted, or is expected to last, for a period of at least 12 months. However, the SSA recognizes the episodic nature of MS, and conducts a special evaluation for the length, frequency and severity of a claimant’s episodes.

For a claimant to meet the Social Security’s disability listing, the individual must prove one of the following conditions:

  • Severe attenuation of vision, which cannot be amended with the use of glasses or corrective lenses.
  • Significant fatigue and weakness as a result of the disease’s effect on the central nervous system
  • Ambulation difficulty (inclusive of an individual’s hands) with significant impairment of at least two of the person’s limbs.
  • The presence of a mental disorder resulting from loss of memory, IQ diminishment, or and alternation in one’s mood.

MS affects approximately 300,000 American’s and an estimated 1 million worldwide. Famous television personality, Montel Williams, best recognized as the host of The Montel Williams Show, was diagnosed with MS in 1999. Since his diagnosis, Montel Williams founded the non-profit MS Foundation, and has been an active advocator for MS ever since. Williams states: the MS Foundation “was established for one reason, and that was to try to find a cure for MS. Every penny, 100% of the public donations that come into this are given back out in the form of grants to colleges and researchers around the world”.

If you suffer from Multiple Sclerosis or any other disabling condition and you need help with the Social Security Disability process, the Law Office of Matt Liebenhaut serves individuals in Tallahassee and the surrounding North Florida and South Georgia areas and may be able to help you obtain benefits.

By: Matt Liebenhaut