BEFORE YOU CONSIDER APPLYING FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
The Job Accommodations Network is designed to help employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Despite encountering limitations due to your Myasthenia Gravis, you may be able to help your employer find ways to keep you as a dedicated employee. www.jan.wvu.edu/media/mg.html
If your Myasthenia Gravis leaves you with symptoms that make it difficult for you to maintain a job and you’re not that close to collecting Social Security, you may need to consider applying for Social Security Disability. You may have heard stories that 99% of applicants are denied benefits the first time they apply. The statistics may not be that bad, but just because a majority of people are denied doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. If you’re going to apply, do it the right way and be prepared!
The information for qualifying for Social Security disability benefits with Myasthenia Gravis are included in Section 11.12 of the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. More general information regarding how neurological disorders in general are adjudicated is included in Section 11.00.
To qualify for disability benefits with myasthenia gravis, according to the Blue Book, you need to meet one or both of the following conditions:
- Marked problems swallowing, breathing, or speaking despite being under prescribed medical care and following all recommended therapies.
- Marked muscle weakness and compromise of motor functioning of the arms or legs despite following all prescribed therapies.
When you file for disability, you will want to make sure that you include all medical documentation regarding your diagnosis with Myasthenia Gravis, including all blood and medical imaging tests. You will also want to make sure that your medical file thoroughly describes how your disabling condition limits your ability to use your arms, legs, or bodily functions.
Your Myasthenia Gravis Disability Case
Even though the qualifications for Social Security disability benefits are fairly straightforward for Myasthenia Gravis, it can be helpful to have a Social Security disability lawyer help you put your claim together. Many claimants who should qualify for benefits are denied disability due to fairly minor errors and omissions which would not have occurred if a professional disability attorney were handling the case.
More over, if you have Myasthenia Gravis, but the symptoms you suffer don’t quite meet the listing requirements, your Social Security disability lawyer will often be able to suggest strategies which can help you obtain benefits. This is done by demonstrating to the SSA how the combination of all of your symptoms from all conditions you suffer with are equivalent to a qualified listing. It’s simple and free to have an experienced Social Security disability lawyer go over the details of your claim with you. If you are awarded benefits, your lawyer will retain 25% of your benefit retroactive from the date you filed.
I’m Doing Fine Doc…..How Are You Doing?
We often use the greeting, “How are you doing?” instead of simply saying, “Hi” or “Good morning”. The response back is usually not meaningful as well. But, when we are present for a physician appointment, this is no time for superficial conversation. You are there because you are not fine. Your physician will be submitting details of your condition in his/her report to Social Security Disability on your behalf. Some people think that if they think positive and minimize the discomfort and limitations they experience as a result of their symptoms, perhaps they won’t be as bad. And then, some people don’t report the extent of their symptoms so that their physician will think their treatment plan is successful. Again, this is no time to delude yourself or attempt to make your physician feel good. Your appointments are about you, your Myasthenia Gravis, your other conditions that impact your MG, your symptoms, your tests, treatment, side effects, progress and limitations. If your doctor does not have an accurate assessment of your limitations and your medical records do not support your doctor’s assessment, you will not meet the criteria for Social Security Disability. Plain and simple: you can’t list your limitations on your application without supporting documentation in your medical records. That’s why the MGA recommends that you keep a MG Diary, where you record everything related to your MG. Write down changes in vision, muscle strength, fatigue, medication side effects, changes related to heat, exercise, etc. Review your notes so that at your next physician appointment, you can easily recall essential information he/she needs to revise your treatment plan. If you decide one day to apply for Social Security Disability, your physician will have all the documentation he/she needs.
If you are denied Social Security benefits, it isn’t the end of the line. The Social Security application process has several built-in levels of appeal, any of which can overturn the initial decision and give you the benefits to which you are entitled.