Multiple System Atrophy is a rare condition that results in severe debilitation. As a result, many of the people who are diagnosed with the disease are unable to continue full-time work activity. The resulting lack of income can cause significant financial hardship. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can offset some of the financial stress. If you have been diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy and you are wondering how Social Security Disability can help, the following information will give you the insight you need in order to qualify for benefits under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines.
Multiple System Atrophy Condition and Symptoms
Known as MSA, multiple system atrophy is a progressively worsening neurodegenerative disorder. The condition affects the autonomic nervous system, or body functions that a person doesn't control. The disease most commonly affects men and women in their 50s.
As a neurological disorder, the disease affects areas of the brain as well as the nervous system. This uncommon disease gradually impairs various body systems such as functions that regulate heart rate and blood pressure and other autonomic systems such as bladder function.
When a person develops this disease, multiple systems are affected. Atrophy is defined as a decrease in size or a wasting away of a body organ or tissue, hence the name multiple system atrophy. Multiple system atrophy affects a person's balance and coordination, other physical capabilities such as mobility, as well as cognitive ability and memory.
In most cases, individuals experience a rather rapid decline in mobility, cognition and physical control and ability over a 10-year period. Loss of mobility, neuromuscular control and motor skills and increased damage to brain cells eventually leads to bed confinement and ultimately, death.
Some of the most common symptoms of multiple system atrophy include a stiffening of facial expressions and an inability to close the mouth. A person may have difficulty smiling, frowning, or moving facial muscles. This may result in difficulty chewing or swallowing.
Individuals who are diagnosed with the disease also experience dizziness and suffer from frequent falls that may cause fractures. Loss of motor skills and decline in mental function as well as mobile difficulty progress over time, but the rate of progression differs between individuals.
Eventually, individuals experience rigid muscles, difficulty maintaining posture and frozen movements. Tremors, speech and voice changes and changes in vision are common. Bradykinesia, or slowed movement, is common as the disease progresses, as is urinary incontinence. Rigidity and lack of posture control, as well as tremors, are also common.
Two types of MSA are defined as MSA-P (predominant Parkinsonism) and MSA-C (with cerebellar features). Features that dominate at the time of evaluation, although the types can change as the disease progresses, determine classification.
Causes of Multiple System Atrophy
The cause of multiple system atrophy is currently unknown, although researchers do know that individuals who are diagnosed with the condition have lost large numbers of nerve cells throughout the brain and spinal cord. This results in a loss of coordination in muscle movement as well as many functions found throughout the autonomic nervous system.
Because multiple system atrophy develops gradually, it is often mistaken as part of the aging process. The condition may also be initially misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease, as many of the symptoms are similar. However, contrary to individuals diagnosed with Parkinson's, a person diagnosed with multiple system atrophy will experience wide areas of damage to areas of the nervous system that control autonomic functions in the body.
Currently, there are no treatments that delay the progression of brain damage, although there are treatments to help individuals deal with some symptoms of the disease may be offered, depending on case scenario.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Multiple System Atrophy
It is estimated that nearly 70 percent of the Social Security Disability claims received each year are denied by the Social Security Administration, resulting in the need for a disability appeal. Unfortunately, filing a disability appeal is a process that can take more than two years to complete. Fortunately, Multiple System Atrophy is now one of the few conditions that qualify for disability claim processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. Because of this, applicants who are suffering from Multiple System Atrophy may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in a matter of weeks rather than having to wait months or years before benefits can begin.
When filing for Social Security Disability, make sure that you answer all of the questions on the claim forms in their entirety. Do not leave any question unanswered and when you are answering questions, make sure that you give very detailed answers. This will help the adjudicator who is reviewing your file understand why your claim qualifies for processing under the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Guidelines. Also make sure that you provide sufficient medical evidence, including all medical records and a written statement from your treating physician.
Multiple System Atrophy and Your Social Security Disability Case
Just because Multiple System Atrophy is included in the SSA's Compassionate Allowances Listings, that does not mean that your claim will be automatically approved by the Social Security Administration. It is not common for the SSA to deny Compassionate Allowances claims, but it has been known to happen on occasion. This is usually due to a lack of sufficient medical evidence, improperly filled out claim forms or a lack of knowledge and/or understanding on the part of the adjudicator reviewing the Social Security Disability file.
If you would like to increase your chances of obtaining a hassle-free approval of your Social Security Disability claim based on a case of Multiple System Atrophy, you should consider retaining the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. These professionals can help you with your disability claim and will increase your chances of receiving a quick and hassle-free claim approval.
To learn more about the Social Security Compassionate Allowances listings or to find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to Multiple System Atrophy, click here for a free evaluation of your Social Security Disability case.