Rules change for Multiple Sclerosis Disability

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive autoimmune disease, impacting a variety of body systems. It often results in weakness and loss of function in use of legs and arms, bladder and vision problems, and frequently causes serious depression. Most patients have severe fatigue as a result of the disease.

For many years, Social Security has acknowledged that MS symptoms can be totally disabling. The rules for qualifying were recently updated, significantly changing the analysis advocates must use. This also impacts the information patients must be giving to their neurologists to make sure the needed descriptions are in the medical charts.

The rules, called Listings, provides two different ways to prove “total disability.” The first requires proof of: “…an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.”

The second method of proving disability requires proof of: “Marked limitation in both physical functioning, and in one of the following:

*Understanding, remembering or applying information;
*Interacting with others;
*Concentration, persisting or maintaining pace;
*Adapting or managing oneself.

Few neurologists, in the course of routine medical practice, keep clinical notes on the four mental health issues. However, without those findings in the charts it will be difficult to meet the requirements of this new rule. Please call if you have clients or patients needing help with these issues, or if you would like us to come to your agency or support group and review these new requirements.

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