Living with a condition like muscular dystrophy can cause a lot of physical challenges, as well as a lot of financial difficulties. Many with the condition may struggle to make ends meet as their severe symptoms prevent regular employment.
If you have muscular dystrophy and it affects your ability to work, you could be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This article explains how you could receive these disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) for your condition.
Understanding Muscular Dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy refers to a genetic disorder that causes a progressive loss of muscle mass causing weakness throughout the body. There are several types of muscular dystrophy, including:
- Becker muscular dystrophy
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy
- Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy
- Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy
- Congenital muscular dystrophy
- Myotonic muscular dystrophy
- Distal muscular dystrophy
- Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy can affect people in different ways. The severity of the symptoms a person has depends on the type of muscular dystrophy a person has and how long they have had it.
Some common symptoms include:
- cognitive abnormalities
- progressive muscle weakness
- delayed motor skill development
- difficulty using muscle groups
- eyelid drooping
- problems with walking
- loss of muscle size.
There is currently no cure for muscular dystrophy. However, there are treatment options, such as physical therapy and orthopedic aids, which can help improve one’s quality of life. When the symptoms of muscular dystrophy prevent individuals from maintaining employment, Social Security Disability benefits may provide much-needed financial help.
Social Security Disability and Muscular Dystrophy
To qualify for SSDI because of muscular dystrophy, you must meet the SSA’s criteria for eligibility through the following five-step process:
- Prove your current monthly earnings are at or below the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level the year you apply ($1,470 or below for 2023).
- Show that your muscular dystrophy severely affects your mobility and functional abilities, such as standing, walking, grasping, lifting, fine motor skills, and cognitive reasoning.
- Provide documentation of diagnosis matching the SSA’s listings for muscular dystrophy impairments. To meet the SSA’s muscular dystrophy impairments listing your medical documentation must show evidence of:
A. Having a lack of coordination in the movement of two extremities causing significant difficulty in standing up from a seated position, maintaining balance while standing or walking, and using the upper extremities.
B. Notable limitation in physical functioning, along with impairment in one of the following areas:
- Understanding, remembering, or applying information.
- Interacting with others.
- Concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace.
- Adapting or managing oneself.
- Demonstrate an inability to perform any past jobs or work successfully again because of worsening symptoms of your muscular dystrophy.
- Show that no other employment is possible when considering your age, education, prior work experience, and remaining physical and mental capabilities.
Getting Help Filing for Disability
Filing a disability claim for muscular dystrophy can be a complicated process. When trying to file on your own without enough knowledge, you can easily delay or derail a case. You may wish to get the help of an attorney with experience in Social Security disability matters. They can guide you through the process by ensuring all necessary medical records and documentation gets submitted, and represent you if your initial application gets denied and a hearing becomes necessary.
At Brock and Stout, our team has effectively helped clients receive the disability benefits they need and deserve because of conditions like muscular dystrophy. Contact us for a free evaluation to see if we can help you.