Recently on our disability forum a user asked, I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I submitted my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application and was denied. Now, I have applied for a hearing. I have been told my hearing may not be scheduled for at least a year. I need money now. What are my options?
What is multiple sclerosis?
If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) your immune system has directed an attack against your central nervous system (CNS), which includes your brain, optic nerves and your spinal cord. After the immune system attacks the myelin in your body, which is the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates nerve fibers, scar tissue forms, leading to a disruption of signals from the brain to the spinal cord.
Is multiple sclerosis considered disabling by the SSA?
Multiple sclerosis is a common condition which can lead to an automatic approval of SSDI benefits. For some sufferers, however, the symptoms may initially be mild and may not be severe enough to convince the Social Security Administration that benefits should be awarded.
Without more information about your case its impossible to say whether or not your condition is severe, but your case may have initially been denied because they did not believe your condition was severe, they did not believe it eliminated your ability to work, or they thought that you could retrain for new work.
Or none of this might be true. Instead, the SSA might have denied the claim simply because you did not provide enough medical to the SSA to win your case and prove that your condition either met or equaled a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments or eliminated your ability to work.
What do I do while I wait for my hearing?
Regardless of why you were denied, however, its time to make sure that you are prepared for your hearing. You mentioned your hearing could be months away. This is an issue for all disability claimants.
In fact, the hearing wait times are a very big concern for the SSA. So big that the SSA just announced a new plan, referred to as Compassionate and Responsive Service (CARES). According to the SSA, this new program is a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan to address the increase in wait times and pending hearings. The plan has both immediate, tactical initiatives, as well as long-term initiatives that will ensure an efficient, effective, and sustainable hearings process.
Specifically, the SSA is working to increase hearings adjudication and disposition capacity, improve ALJ support and staff efficiency, and strengthen personnel oversight and policy compliance.
While this may not solve the immediate issue of what you should do while you wait for your hearing, SSDI claimants should take some comfort that the SSA has heard their complaints and is actively addressing their concerns.
So what do you do while you wait? First, make sure you talk to a disability lawyer. Have them review your medical records and make sure you have sufficient evidence that your multiple sclerosis does not allow you to work. If you need more evidence about the severity of your multiple sclerosis go to the doctor and get it now while you wait for your hearing.
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