Muscular dystrophy can be a very severe and debilitating condition. Individuals who suffer from it may find it hard to accomplish the simplest of everyday, ordinary tasks. It goes without saying that full-time work activity is impossible for these people. Unfortunately, without any means of income and a lack of medical insurance, these individuals suffer from severe financial stress. It is in cases like these that Social Security Disability benefits are intended to help. If you or someone you know is suffering from muscular dystrophy, the following information will help you understand how the condition qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits and how the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews disability claims based on this diagnosis.
Muscular Dystrophy Condition and Symptoms
Muscular dystrophy is a term that is given to a number of inherited disorders that result in a loss of muscle tissue and progressive muscle weakness. There are a number of different types of muscular dystrophy including Becker muscular dystrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, myotonia congenita muscular dystrophy and myotonic dystrophy.
The symptoms of muscular dystrophy can vary from individual to individual, with the severity depending on the progression of the condition and the specific type of muscular dystrophy involved. Some of the common symptoms of muscular dystrophy include mental retardation, progressive muscle weakness, delayed development of motor skills, difficulty using muscle groups, drooling, eyelid drooping, frequent falling, loss of strength in a muscle or group of muscles, problems walking and loss of muscle size.
Unfortunately there is no cure for muscular dystrophy. Instead, doctors focus on treating the symptoms of the condition and making the patient as comfortable as possible. In some cases, physical therapy and orthopedic appliances can help. In severe cases, surgery of the legs or even the spine may be considered.
When an individual who is suffering from muscular dystrophy experiences symptoms that prevent them from maintaining employment, Social Security Disability payments may be able to help. Thus it is important to file an application for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Muscular Dystrophy
The SSA does recognize muscular dystrophy as a qualifying condition under their published Blue Book of Medical Listings. It is important to understand, however, that a diagnosis of the condition is not enough to qualify an individual for benefits from the SSA on its own. Under the Medical Listing that covers muscular dystrophy, certain conditions must be met.
Section 11.13 of the Medical Listings is the section of the Blue Book that covers muscular dystrophy. According to this section, in order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, a muscular dystrophy patient must suffer from disorganized medical function as described in Section 11.04B of the Medical Listings. Section 11.04B states that an individual is disabled if they suffer from “significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station.”
If your condition meets the guidelines that have been established by the SSA, then you may qualify for benefits during the initial stage of the disability application process if you can prove this fact with sufficient medical documentation. When filing your Social Security Disability claim, make sure that you provide a complete copy of your medical records detailing evidence of the criteria above.
If you do not have enough medical evidence to prove that your condition meets the criteria of Medical Listing 11.13 or if your specific case of muscular dystrophy does not fall under the published Medical Listing, you may still be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if you can prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of work activity. To demonstrate the extent of your disability, you will need to provide a complete copy of your medical records along with your Social Security Disability claim. Be sure that you are very detailed when answering the questions on the Social Security Disability claim forms, as the answers you provide will help the adjudicator reviewing your file understand the extent of your disability. You may want to have an attorney review your application before submitting it to the SSA to ensure that it is submitted in the best light possible.
Muscular Dystrophy and Your Social Security Disability Case
Although muscular dystrophy is one of the qualifying disabling conditions listed in the SSA's Blue Book, a diagnosis of the condition does not automatically guarantee you Social Security Disability benefits. You will have to prove that your condition meets the guidelines set forth under Section 11.13 of the Medical Listings.
When filing an appeal for Social Security Disability benefits, it is crucial that you obtain the services of a qualified disability advocate or attorney. If your claim has been denied, these professionals will guide you through the appeal process and will provide you with proper representation at your disability hearing. Statistics show that applicants are more likely to be awarded benefits when they retain the help of a disability attorney or advocate.