Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a neurological disorder that frequently effects an individual’s ability to engage in gainful activity. It can be disabling while at other times, an employee with MS may seek an accommodation under the ADA.
If you have MS and file a claim for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate the severity of your disorder under listing 11.09 of the Impairment Listing Manual. Listing 11.09 is divided into 3 paragraphs: A, B and C. Paragraph A provides criteria for evaluating disorganization of motor function, a symptom characteristic of a diagnosis of MS. Paragraph B references other listings for evaluating visual and mental impairments caused by MS. Finally, paragraph C provides criteria for evaluating the severity of an individual with MS’s impairment when there is no muscle weakness at rest, but develops on activity due to fatigue.
The disorganization of motor function required to meet the severity level of Listing 11.09A is described in paragraph 11.04B. To satisfy Listing 11.09A, disorganization of motor function associated with MS must be significant and persistent in at least two extremities, and result in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station. Some examples of this disorganization of motor function include paralysis, tremors, or other involuntary movements. See paragraph 11.00C for more about the definition of “disorganization of motor function.”
A diagnosis of MS can result in various mental and visual impairments. An individual experiencing these types of symptoms will be evaluated under listings 2.02, 2.03, 2.04, or 12.02 rather than the traditional MS Listing 11.09. Sometimes the limitations in motor function of a person with MS will be present when that person is engaging in some type of activity, but not when that individual is resting. These types of cases are evaluated under paragraph 11.09C. The impairment in motor function must be reproducible upon a physical examination.
As with any claim, it is important that the person seeking benefits is receiving ongoing, regular medical treatment. In order to meet the severity level of listing 11.09, an individual’s limitations must be well documented by a doctor. Even if your conditions do not meet the severity outlined in listing 11.09, you may still be eligible to receive benefits if your conditions result in your inability to function or maintain work skills. Please feel free to call should you want to discuss these issues further.