Individuals who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and experience debilitating symptoms may be eligible for disability benefits from Social Security.
According to the Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. The disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
The signs and symptoms “can vary widely” and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. However, some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.
Although the signs and symptoms may differ greatly from person to person and over the course of the disease, signs and symptoms often present as numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occur on one side of the body at a time. Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait, and electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward, are also symptoms noted by the Mayo Clinic. MS may also create vision problems such as prolonged double vision, blurred vision, or even partial or complete loss of vision. The disease can affect one’s ability to communicate and result in slurred speech, as well as fatigue and dizziness.
Most people with MS have a relapsing-remitting disease course. This means that they experience periods of symptom relapses that develop over days or weeks and usually improve partially or completely. These relapses are followed by quiet periods of disease remission that can last months or even years. About 60 to 70 percent of people with relapsing-remitting MS eventually develop a steady progression of symptoms with or without periods of remission. This is known as secondary-progressive MS
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above for unexplained reasons, it is important to consult with a medical professional. If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and your condition is preventing you from working, it would be a good idea to discuss your situation with an attorney experienced with Social Security disability benefits.