Employment - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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Developing and achieving employment goals can be accomplished despite your MS diagnosis.

Diagnosed in 2004


In this article


People living with MS often continue working long after their diagnosis. On the flip side, some people with MS decide to leave their jobs when they are first diagnosed or experience their first major exacerbation, often at the suggestion of their family or doctor. This decision is often made too quickly and at a time when symptoms can color judgment. Disease-modifying therapies, new technologies, better symptom management, legal employment protections and community resources can help you remain in the workforce.

As a complex and unpredictable disease, MS can have varying effects on a person’s ability to work. New symptoms might make you question whether you can continue working and, when those symptoms subside, you might wonder why you were worried about work at all.

Developing and achieving employment goals can be accomplished despite your MS diagnosis — and education and preparation can be your most powerful secret weapon. The National MS Society is here to work with you as you navigate your employment options. We have  resources to add to your employment toolkit.

Exploring employment options

First breath — don’t make any rash decisions. Give yourself permission to take it slow, review your situation, do your research and learn about resources.

When you are ready — The first step is to do a self-assessment.  Catalog your symptoms and how they impact your performance at work.  Identify your knowledge, skills, abilities, personal characteristics — overall competencies. Evaluate the impact of the symptoms on this “big picture” view of yourself. Taking the time to do this helps you determine what options to consider. Self- assessment tools and may be helpful.

If you're considering a change in employment, know that some employers seek to hire people who bring diversity of all kinds — including disability — to their workforces.

Know your rights

Understanding the legal protections available to you is one way to help you maintain your place in the workforce. These resources will help you understand your rights:

Additional resources

Living Well with MS: Working with MS helps people think about career-related options whether they are changing the kind of work they do, returning to employment after being absent for a while, or attempting to maintain a job by accommodating MS symptoms.

Employment Webinar/Telelearning Series Archive
Legal Basics – Know Your Rights
Managing Cognitive Symptoms and Fatigue in the Workplace
Supports to Help You Find Employment
Guide to Flexible and Home-Based Jobs
Navigating Career Change Working with MS is Possible!
Managing Your MS Symptoms with Technology
The Complete Guide to Social Security Disability
Home Based Employment: What Employers Want

Employment Matters: Managing MS in the Workplace
Featured Video series

Employment Matters: Managing MS in the Workplace

Learn how to navigate the complexities of managing work and MS through this six-part video series and companion toolkit

Part 1- Thinking Proactively About Employment

Part 2- Recent Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Part 3- Disclosure in the Workplace

Part 4- Managing Fatigue in the Workplace

Part 5- Managing Cognitive Challenges in the Workplace

Part 6- Assistive Technology and the Workplace


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