Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord. It is a progressive, autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack the protective myelin sheath that covers nerve fibers. Overall, this creates communication issues through the nervous system. As the condition progresses, permanent damage to the nerve fibers may occur. For many people, Multiple Sclerosis can have a profound impact on their daily life. Sometimes the pain and symptoms from your condition hinder your ability to work. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get long-term disability insurance benefits for your MS. However, working with an experienced disability attorney can help increase your chances of being approved. Below, we will discuss some of the important aspects to consider when filing for disability insurance benefits for Multiple Sclerosis.
Is Multiple Sclerosis A Disablity?
MS is a degenerative disease that can be incredibly debilitating. There is no cure for this condition. But, with the right treatment, some people will see recovery and symptom management. Ultimately, while Multiple Sclerosis can be a disability, it can be hard to be approved for it. This is because many people with the condition have a “relapsing-remitting” course. This means that symptoms can show for weeks, and then go into remission, only to return later. Sometimes, these remission periods can last months or even years.
What are the Debilitating Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
While there are many types of MS, so symptoms can vary, there are a number of symptoms that are prevalent among most people living with the condition. Multiple Sclerosis affects the flow of information from your nerves to your brain. Some symptoms include:
- Lack of coordination
- Poor balance
- Muscle spasms
- Vision issues, such as double vision or blurriness
- Unsteady gait
- Inability to walk
- Shocking sensations with certain neck movements (Lhermitte signs)
- Slurred speech
- Cognitive deficits, such as poor concentration
- Difficulty speaking
- Mood swings
- Bladder and bowel issues
- Problems with sexual function
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can also vary depending on the nerve fibers affected. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any and all symptoms you experience. This will help them better diagnose and treat your condition. It is also important for your doctor to record your symptoms in their notes, as this can be important for your disability insurance claim. Because symptoms can be episodic in nature, it is important to keep track of your symptoms and when you experience them.
Providing Medical Evidence Of Your Condition
In order to prove that your Multiple Sclerosis is debilitating, you will need to provide medical evidence. Part of this includes a proper diagnosis. While there is no clinical test that can provide a diagnosis for MS, there are a number of ways a doctor can come to this conclusion. Usually, it involves looking at your medical history, and then testing to rule out other conditions. A neurologic exam, MRI, spinal fluid analysis, and blood tests can help rule out other potential conditions.
Having a full record of doctor’s notes, test results, and treatment history can be helpful in building your case. If you see any specialists to treat symptoms, be sure to collect medical reports from them, as well. You may also want to ask your doctor to provide an Attending Physician’s Statement. This is a narrative report that can provide your doctor’s opinion on your condition and your ability to work.
Providing Vocational Evidence For Your Claim
Vocational evidence is evidence of how your condition affects your job specifically. Firstly, draft a detailed description of your job and position. Unfortunately, many job descriptions do not provide a complete list of all of the tasks you have to do in a day. Even tasks you do infrequently should be noted, as they are part of the requirements of your job. Under each item, note how your symptoms affect your ability to complete the task. Be as specific as you can.
Next, ask your employer for a record of performance reviews and attendance records, which may show a decline in productivity since you started experiencing conditions. You may also want to ask your employer or coworkers for narratives regarding your condition and how it affects you in the workplace.