The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates there are about 12,000 people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) in New York City. Treating MS involves a balance of taking medication to stop the progression of the disease and learning new skills that allow you to adjust to living with MS.
By getting a complete list of options, MS victims can find the right combination of these treatments to help them live a happy and productive life. Further, resources may be available through the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help workers with MS who are no longer able of working.
What is multiple sclerosis?
MS is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. The body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath covering nerves, causing inflammation. Doctors and researchers are unsure of what causes MS. Some believe a virus or a genetic defect may cause it.
Some common symptoms of MS include numbness and weakness, muscle spasms, vision loss and other problems, fatigue, trouble swallowing and difficulty reading. MS follows a relapse-remission cycle. Relapses can last anywhere from a couple of days to many months, while during remissions patients face fewer and less severe symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for MS; however, many treatment options may slow the disease’s progression and increase quality of life. Some of these treatment options include:
- Medications to slow progression: Interferons, glatiramer acetate, mitoxantrone, natalizumab and fingolimod are all used to prevent MS from spreading and getting worse. These drugs do a variety of different things to the body from improving communication in cells to suppressing the immune system before it can attack nerve cells.
- Medications to increase quality of life: Liorseal, tizanidine, benzodiazepine, antidepressants and amantadine may treat different symptoms like fatigue, muscle spasms and depression.
- Therapies: A variety of different rehabilitative therapies can be helpful to MS patients including physical, speech and occupational therapy. Support groups, counseling, nutrition coaches and personal trainers can also help a patient learn skills and habits to increase quality of life.
- Devices: Wheelchairs, bed lifts, shower chairs, walkers and wall bars can all help a patient deal with relapses.
Social Security Disability for People Suffering from MS
If the disease gets difficult enough that you cannot secure work or perform job duties, Social Security disability is available to provide weekly benefit checks and health insurance. There are three Social Security listings for MS — disorganization of motor function, visual or mental impairment and muscle weakness.
Just because a person is receiving Social Security benefits does not mean that she cannot participate in the workforce. The SSA offers incentives and programs that allow people to try work without risking losing their benefits completely.
The law firm of Markhoff & Mittman, P.C. is committed to helping MS patients understand their legal options to recover disability benefits. Call our New York offices at 855-614-4351 to set up a consultation with a lawyer to review whether you qualify for Social Security disability.