Multiple Sclerosis and Disability Claims
Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system of the body and has no known cause. It can affect the brain, eyes and spinal cord and may cause a large number of associated maladies. Not every case is severe, but most people with multiple sclerosis will suffer from a range of debilitating symptoms that can affect their ability to work and lead a meaningful, productive life. If you are having symptoms of MS, you should consult with your doctor as soon as possible. In the unfortunate event that you have already been diagnosed with this terrible disease, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced New York long-term disability lawyer to discuss your legal, financial and healthcare needs.
Like other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis is caused when your body’s immune system begins attacking otherwise healthy tissue. With multiple sclerosis, the tissues of the spinal cord, optic nerve and brain can suffer substantial damage. These organs and tissues are responsible for conducting nerve impulses throughout the body and for critical senses such as sight, smell and hearing. Damage to these areas of the body can be very debilitating and lead to crippling disability or even death.
Every year thousands of people are diagnosed and there is a large scientific effort to understand and treat the disease. Unfortunately, a cure has not been found and many people will continue to face disability. Nobody should have to face this disease and the associated financial hardship alone. The New York long-term disability attorneys at Hermann Law Group are here to help you.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
MS damages the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells in the central nervous system. When the layer of myelin is damaged, destroyed or inflamed, the nerve is unable to conduct electrical impulses throughout the body. This causes miscommunication between the brain and the body’s organs and appendages. As a result, you may experience adverse side effects, including:
- Blurry vision or loss of eyesight
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of urinary or bowel control
- Numbness and tingling in arms, hands, legs and feet
The effect on your life can be profound. From difficulty walking, to slurred speech, cognitive impairment or blindness, your ability to work and earn a living can be significantly impacted.
Types of multiple sclerosis and long-term prognosis
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are four types of multiple sclerosis. The types vary in severity expression. Hence, one person’s MS may qualify them for disability benefits while another person’s may not. This is why it is important to consult with a New York long-term disability lawyer who understands the nuances of disease progression and disability law.
- Primary-Progressive: this form of MS affects about 10 percent of sufferers. It is characterized by a steady and continuing worsening of the symptoms with only minor periods of improved neurological functioning. Relapse or remission is not apparent because of progressive nature of the condition.
- Secondary-Progressive: this type of MS generally follows a period of relapsing-remitting MS. Patients who are diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS often “progress” into this state where the disease begins to worsen steadily without periods or relapse and remission.
- Relapsing-Remitting: individuals with this form of MS have “attacks” where their neurological function will get substantially worse for a period of time and then go into a period of remission and improved functioning. This is the most common form of MS and affects 80 to 90% of multiple sclerosis patients. Many relapsing-remitting patients will progress into secondary-progressive MS and their symptoms will become more stable but won’t necessarily improve or worsen.
- Progressive-Relapsing: this is the least common form of the disease and patients see a continual worsening of symptoms from the outset with very minor periods of remission, if any. Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis causes a steady worsening of neurological function.
As far as treatments go, most therapies focus on minimizing or managing the symptoms and trying to improve quality of life. This often involves a strong course of corticosteroids over the course of several days to reduce inflammation in the central nervous system.
There are also a number of “disease modifying agents” that may be available depending on the type of multiple sclerosis that you have. These drugs can help to reduce the activity of the disease and in some cases slow down its progression. There is no known “silver bullet” cure for multiple sclerosis.
Qualifying for disability benefits with multiple sclerosis
Applying for disability benefits is a long and arduous process regardless of the disease you are fighting. Multiple sclerosis can be particularly challenging because there is no set course for how the disease will progress. Some people are completely functional and can manage the disease with medication. In other cases, the disease progresses rapidly and the patient’s condition continually worsens. There is no “cookie cutter” approach for MS disability cases and you need a New York long term disability lawyer who has experience handling complex medical disability cases.
Contact New York Long-Term Disability Lawyers
If you have already applied for Social Security disability benefits and were denied, you only have 60 days to appeal the decision. You will need an attorney immediately to make sure that your rights are protected. Call the New York long-term disability lawyers at Hermann Law Group today for a free case consultation! We can be reached at (877) 773-3030.