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Getting Social Security Benefits for Your Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. Surrounding and protecting the nerve fibers of the CNS is a fatty tissue called myelin, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses.
In MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken.
Myelin not only protects nerve fibers, but makes their job possible. When myelin or the nerve fiber is destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted, and this produces the various symptoms of MS. If your MS prevents you from working, you may qualify for Social Security benefits.
While the exact cause of MS is unknown, most researchers believe that the damage to myelin results from an abnormal response by the body's immune system. In the case of MS, myelin is attacked. Scientists do not yet know what triggers the immune system to do this. Most agree that several factors are involved, including genetics and environmental triggers (viruses, trauma and metal toxicity).
Who is Affected
Anyone may develop MS, but there are some patterns. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Two to three times as many women as men have MS. Studies indicate that genetic factors make certain individuals more susceptible than others, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. MS occurs more commonly among people with northern European ancestry, but people of African, Asian, and Hispanic backgrounds are not immune. Approximately 400,000 Americans acknowledge having MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.
Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person and from time to time in the same person. A person with MS could have loss of balance and muscle coordination making walking difficult; another person with MS could have slurred speech, tremors, stiffness, and bladder and bowel problems. Some exhibit depression, fatigue, sexual dysfunction and vision problems. Some symptoms will come and go over the course of the disease, while others may be more lasting.
This information was obtained from the National MS Society at http://www.nationalmssociety.org.
Social Security Process
Social Security evaluates each person's claim for benefits using the following five steps:
A Jacoby & Meyers professional can help you at all levels of the administrative process to:
We are not retained until the contract is countersigned.
Please contact our SSDI lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. Jacoby & Meyers has offices nationwide.
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