Mom's Story, A Child Learns About MS

Mom's Story, A Child Learns About MS
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

What Does “Disabled” Mean?

There is really only one criterion for disability: can you do substantial paid work? “Substantial” means earning $800 a month. And it doesn’t have to be work you know, or work that is available in your community. Ability to do any kind of full-time paid work at all can disqualify you. (One major exception: if you work for yourself, the Social Security Administration [SSA] looks at your net income – what you report to the IRS – not at your gross.)

There are five ways people with MS can prove disability. These include substantial limitation of vision, cognitive problems, fatigue, or major disability of two extremities. SSA can also combine these factors, evaluated on what they call a “grid” of over-all disability.

You’ll need evidence to get disability. Rosemarie Johnson says, “You have to be proactive. Keep a journal and write about your symptoms and how they limit your activity. See your doctors regularly. That way, if you do need to apply for disability, you’ll have solid documentation.”

A detailed letter from your doctor testifying to fatigue or cognitive problems is powerful evidence of disability. So your doctors should ask about fatigue and cognition at each appointment, or you should bring it up. It’s helpful to get a neuro-psychological evaluation every couple of years and again before applying for disability. Letters from family, friends or anyone who has observed your daily activities can also document your disability

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