If you live with multiple sclerosis and are unable to work due to an MS-related disability and/or other conditions, you might be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The Social Security Disability Guidebook can assist you in deciding whether applying for disability benefits is right for you, and in navigating the complex application process. Additionally, information about certain types of MS that may qualify a person for an expedited review of their application for disability benefits is provided on this website in the section on Compassionate Allowances.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes MS as a chronic illness or “impairment” that can cause disability severe enough to prevent an individual from working. If you have any of the following symptoms, or any combination of these or other symptoms that prevent you from working, you might qualify for Social Security benefits:
- Difficulty with walking and other motor skills
- Difficulty seeing
- Difficulty concentrating or completing simple tasks
- Difficulty remembering
- Extreme fatigue, regardless of sleep
- Speech impairment
- Side effects of medication(s)
While SSI and SSDI provide different benefits, SSA uses the same disability determination process for both. You can even qualify for both at the same time. This Guidebook, Applying for Social Security Benefits: A Guidebook for People with MS and Their Healthcare Providers, focuses primarily on the SSDI application process but includes helpful information for both programs. If you need additional information or help as you read through the Guidebook, contact an MS Navigator, call SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or visit SSA's website.