I have stopped working and need to apply for Social Security Disability. What criteria does the SSA use to determine eligibility for someone with MS?
While this is a very complicated question, the Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at whether an individual is capable of sustaining any competitive employment in the national economy forty hours per week, eight hours per day, or an equivalent work schedule in determining whether the individual is disabled. This involves looking at age, education, past work experience, and limitations caused by medical conditions.
This can produce a challenge for people with MS. MS affects different people in different ways. While many people with MS lose their ability to perform full time work, many also remain employable. Also, the variable symptoms caused by MS means that the process of proving disability is going to be different in every case.
Nonetheless, as a general rule, if a person with MS has enough frequent flareups in symptoms requiring him/her to miss four days of work per month, that patient is likely disabled. Similarly, if the person deals with such high levels of fatigue that he/she needs frequent breaks from activities throughout the day, that person is also likely disabled.
The SSA makes its disability determination based largely upon the medical records and opinions it receives. Thus, it is extremely important to get clear medical opinions from your doctors regarding the ability to work. Due to the complexity of these cases, contacting an expert in Social Security Disability law can be beneficial as well.
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