Multiple Sclerosis Attorneys
A Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis can be devastating. You may feel trapped in your own body, unable to accomplish the tasks you once managed with such ease. Not only can the disease slowly take away your independence, but it can take away your financial freedom by removing you from the workforce earlier than you expected. There is a safety net out there in the form of Social Security benefits, but oftentimes, that safety net feels as if it has thousands of holes in it where people slip through without ever getting the help they need.
At Hankey Marks & Crider, we want to help catch you before you fall. We understand how Social Security benefits work and how to maximize an individual’s chances of being approved for the benefits they need. If you have questions about how to secure the benefits you are entitled to, contact Hankey Marks & Crider for answers. We can review your situation, narrow down the programs you qualify for, and help you draft a strong and detailed application that will give you the best opportunity for a positive outcome. Ready to talk about the benefits you deserve? Call us today at (317) 634-8565 and let’s get started.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis is a devastating and debilitating disease that can slowly rob a person of their ability to walk, talk, and live an independent life. It is a disease characterized by an immune response that tells the body’s own immune cells to attack the protective sheath, or myelin, that covers nerve fibers that make up the central nervous system.
The central nervous system is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. When the immune system attacks, it causes inflammation that damages the myelin, as well as the nerve fibers themselves. This damage can interrupt or destroy the nerve’s ability to send and receive messages. When nerves are no longer able to communicate, the brain has no pathway to tell body parts what to do or how to function.
The disease may progress slowly, but over time numbness and weakness can eventually turn into a total loss of function. It can be difficult to predict how severe a case a patient may have because there are several different types of MS. Studies have been conducted that show that there is no good way to tell which patients may go on to develop more severe forms of MS, although having signs of spinal fluid proteins and MRI lesions on the spinal cord or lower back part of the brain may be predictive factors.
The types of MS and its possible precursor currently include:
- Clinically Isolated Syndrome – CIS is the first episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation in the central nervous system. It is a characteristic of MS but is technically not considered an MS diagnosis. That is because some people who experience a CIS may not go on to develop MS.
- Relapsing-Remitting MS – RRMS is the most common form of the MS disease. It includes clearly defined attacks on the nervous system, and individuals will generally have an increase in neurological symptoms. This form of the disease is characterized by nervous system attacks, followed by a period of remission and sometimes partial recovery, and then a relapse. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that up to 85 percent of those with MS are initially diagnosed with RRMS.
- Secondary Progressive MS – SPMS is a transitional condition. Those with RRMS may progress to SPMS, which is a progressive worsening of neurologic function over time.
- Primary Progressive MS – PPMS is a worsening of neurological function from the very onset of symptoms. There are no early relapses or remissions. It is characterized by an almost steady decline in function.
Diagnosing the condition can take time because the symptoms may vary greatly from person to person. Depending on the type of MS, symptoms may also appear and then go into remission before coming back. The initial onset of symptoms also mimics other common conditions, which can make getting a diagnosis early challenging. The most common symptoms associated with the disease include:
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body
- Electric shock-like sensations
- Difficulty with coordination
- Vision loss
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
As the disease progresses, symptoms may also include:
- Slurred speech
- Involuntary muscle spasms
- Bladder problems
- Sexual problems
- Bowel problems
- Cognitive changes
Can Benefits Cover Me?
Individuals diagnosed with MS can apply for Social Security benefits. The criteria are outlined in the Social Security Administration’s blue book, and the disease has its own subheading. While the administration denotes that MS can be considered a disability and therefore, an individual may be able to apply for disability benefits, that does not mean that an individual is guaranteed to receive benefits.
It can be extremely difficult to get a disability benefits application approved. Consider these numbers from the Social Security Administration themselves. In 2019 only 35.9 percent of applications submitted were actually approved for benefits. The chances are high that even if you have a covered condition, you may not be able to access the benefits that you deserve.
Why are so many applications rejected? The answer depends on a number of factors. The application itself is lengthy and complicated to fill out. It can be time-consuming and confusing and must absolutely not be rushed. Any mistake or typo in the application could result in a rejection. In addition to the application itself, there are several supporting medical documents that need to be attached. Obtaining all the correct documentation and making sure that it clearly lays out all the information that the administration wants to know is challenging.
At Hankey Marks & Crider, we help simplify the process by taking on the bulk of the workload. We can help you accurately and thoroughly complete the application while also helping you obtain the documentation needed to strengthen your claim. We can also review your circumstances and advise you on which benefits you may qualify for. Having a seasoned attorney on your side gives you a better chance of securing the benefits that you deserve.
How Can Hankey Marks & Crider Help Me?
You may feel certain that your physical impairments and MS diagnosis will qualify you for disability benefits. They won’t. The Social Security Administration doesn’t look at you as a person. They focus their attention on the provided facts and corroborating paperwork. It is very analytical and data-driven work. That means in order to convince them that you qualify for benefits, you need to have a strong and accurate claim laid out on paper. An attorney with Hankey Marks & Crider can help you draft that claim.
Get the money you deserve. Contact the legal team at Hankey Marks & Crider to discuss your situation and how we can help you tap into the benefits that you have earned. Call us today at (317) 634-8565 and let us help you get started.