Multiple Sclerosis - Disability
April 14, 2013 5:01 PM   Subscribe

I will try to keep this short....My wife (37yo) was diagnosed w/ MS in 2007. Since that time she really hasn't had any really bad symptoms or issues. Well it has now reared its ugly head and she has major fatigue, legs hurting really bad, and she is very scared. She went to her nuero and he said she has now more lesions and a "black hole", and that he was going to do his best to keep her out of a wheelchair or off of a cane. My question is about disability. At her current job she has no short or long term disability. So what are her options? Her doctor asked if she could go part time, however as a family of 4 we couldn't afford that. We are just looking at options, so any guidance or answers would be extremely helpful. Also, we live in Texas if that helps any.
posted by flipmiester99 to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Well, you could check into seeing if she qualifies for SSDI
posted by edgeways at 5:36 PM on April 14, 2013

You might find it helpful to talk to someone at the National MS Society; see if there's a chapter in your area, they might have some insight into local & state options.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:04 PM on April 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Unfortunately, the first question Social Security asks in doing their "sequential evaluation" of eligibility for disability benefits is "Are you working". If so, you are by definition "not disabled" (unable to perform work for which you are qualified).

The MS Society can probably give you information about whether or at what stage an MS sufferer can qualify as "presumptively disabled" for SSDI, thus entitled to benefits at or shortly after applying instead of going through the often extended process of qualifying.

State disability benefits are generally quicker to qualify medically, but are tied to financial qualifications. These are usually fairly rigorous and I would imagine Texas is not among the more generous states.

Good luck.
posted by uncaken at 6:20 PM on April 14, 2013

Texas does not have state disability insurance. Putting aside SSA benefits (SSI/SSDI), the only disability income insurance available to your wife would be group employer coverage. (Your wife would not pass the underwriting for individual disability income insurance, nor would many of us.) If your wife's company does not have group employer insurance, then that might be a reason to start job hunting. An employer's policy can supplement SSA benefits. It also pays more quickly, so typically provides income replacement while the long SSA process is underway.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 6:53 PM on April 14, 2013

Uncaken's answer is mostly true. But your wife can earn up to 1000 dollars per month in substantual gainful activity and not be disqualified at the first step of the disability evaluation (SSDI). Feel free to email me if you have any questions about Social Security disability.
posted by orangemacky at 7:18 PM on April 14, 2013

The MS Society in your state would havd the best info on this.

It is possible to get on SSDI in as little as four months but, and its a big but, it depends on how her Doctor describes her disability.

It is also possible that she will pull out of this exacerbation and return to a state close to what she was like before. I am assuming they are treating her with all the big guns...IV Solul Medrol.
posted by cairnoflore at 7:23 PM on April 14, 2013

I'm sorry, this must be really rough to deal with. I don't have concrete advice about MS, but I think maybe you should also plan to talk to a financial counselor. Since you are depending on both your incomes, it seems like you might not have a plan in place if you need to go down to a single income or a reduced second income. You could get some help planning for that.
posted by Miko at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2013

Unfortunately, the best thing may be to find another job. She needs either less hours or more flexibility (such as being able to work from home.) SSDI can be a maze if you're bringing in any income, or even if you aren't. You may find it worth a consult with an attorney who deals with disability issues so that you can understand your options.

The hard part with MS is that you don't know when an excaberation will hit, how long it will last, and whether or not one does any lasting damage. For this reason, you want to look as far ahead as possible to know your options. If something does go south, it'll be easier if you already have an idea of what you can do about it. Hopefully she will respond to treatment and stay walking and working for many years to come. But I completely understand about the need for a second income. That's why you might want to consult with an attorney, so that if circumstances change she can be eligible for any assistance as rapidly as possible. (If this becomes the case you might also want to know what your options are for protecting your assets. )

Good luck in all of this.
posted by azpenguin at 8:50 PM on April 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

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