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Can you get disability benefits for Muscular Dystrophy?

Yes, it is possible to receive muscular dystrophy disability benefits depending on specific eligibility criteria. Some of the points that the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers are as follows:

  • Medical evidence: To qualify for disability benefits, you must typically provide medical documentation confirming your muscular dystrophy diagnosis. It must state that you have been struggling with the disability for at least 12 months or more, and you cannot sustain substantial gainful activity
  • Functional limitations: SSDI and SSI disability programs usually consider the functional limitations caused by muscular dystrophy when determining eligibility. 
  • Application process: You must complete an application for disability benefits, providing detailed information about your medical condition, symptoms, limitations, and how the disease affects your ability to work. It is vital to provide comprehensive and accurate information to support your case.
  • Medical evaluations: In some cases, disability programs may require medical evaluations or assessments by healthcare professionals designated by the program.
  • Appeals and reviews: If your initial application for disability benefits is denied, you may have the right to appeal the decision, which often involves providing additional medical evidence or presenting your case before an administrative law judge or review board.

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy Disability BenefitsMuscular dystrophy is a genetic disorder that causes muscle weakness. Damage to the muscles due to this disorder causes weakness over time. People in the early stages of muscular dystrophy may not experience marked weakness, but damage becomes more severe over time.

Weakening in the throat often makes it difficult for sufferers to swallow or breathe. The condition can severely impact the lungs and heart of individuals struggling with the disability. The condition can also cause endocrine issues such as diabetes and thyroid disorder.

Is Muscular Dystrophy a disability?

Yes, muscular dystrophy is considered a disability. Muscular dystrophy can significantly impact an individual’s mobility, strength, and overall physical functioning. 

Muscular dystrophy can lead to various physical disabilities, such as difficulty walking, climbing stairs, lifting objects, or performing daily activities independently. The severity and progression of the condition can vary depending on the specific type of muscular dystrophy and the individual.

Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy

Some of the common symptoms of muscular dystrophy are as follows:

  • Muscle weakness: Progressive muscle weakness is a hallmark symptom of muscular dystrophy. It typically begins in specific muscle groups and gradually spreads to other body areas. 
  • Muscle wasting: As the disease progresses, muscle wasting (atrophy) can occur, resulting in a loss of muscle mass. 
  • Contractures: Contractures are abnormal tightening or shortening of muscles, tendons, or other tissues.
  • Fatigue: Many individuals with muscular dystrophy experience fatigue, resulting from the increased effort required for movement due to muscle weakness.
  • Difficulty with motor skills: Muscular dystrophy can affect fine motor skills, making it challenging to perform tasks that require precise movements, such as writing, buttoning clothes, or handling small objects.
  • Breathing difficulties: In some types of muscular dystrophy, respiratory muscles may be affected, leading to breathing difficulties.

Types of Muscular Dystrophy

There are several types of muscular dystrophy, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most common types are:

  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy: DMD is the most common and severe form of muscular dystrophy, primarily affecting males. 
  • Becker muscular dystrophy: BMD is similar to DMD and primarily affects males. A mutation in the dystrophin gene causes it. Still, in BMD, the dystrophin protein is produced in reduced amounts, though it may be partially functional. 
  • Myotonic dystrophy: Myotonic dystrophy is characterized by myotonia, a condition in which muscles have difficulty relaxing after contraction. Two major types are myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2). 
  • Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy: FSHD affects both males and females and usually becomes apparent in the teenage years or early adulthood. 
  • Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy: LGMD refers to a group of muscular dystrophies that primarily affect the muscles around the shoulders and hips, known as the limb-girdle muscles.

Eligibility Requirements for Muscular Dystrophy disability benefits

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of symptoms related to this condition that automatically qualify a person for benefits. The listing dictates that a sufferer must experience chronic disorganization that affects the individual’s ability to maintain gross and dexterous movements.  If an applicant meets the criteria outline in Blue Book disability listing 11.13 for MD, they may apply for the benefits.

  • Disorganization: This means that sufferers cannot maintain control over their muscles. This lack of control must be severe enough to make it difficult or impossible for sufferers to complete tasks like bathing, washing dishes, getting dressed, or shopping. This complication can result from one or more conditions related to muscular dystrophy disability. Paralysis, partial paralysis, involuntary muscle tremors, loss of coordination in the muscles, and sensory disturbances can all lead to muscle disorganization.
  • Gross movements: These refer to activities requiring the use of whole muscle groups located throughout the body. Examples of gross movements include jumping, running, and lifting. Dexterous movements refer to actions involving small muscle groups or individual muscles. For example, holding items, tying a shoe, and buttoning clothing are all activities that involve dexterous movements.

People who do not experience the complications outlined above may still be eligible for SSDI benefits. Detailed medical records must be provided to prove that sufferers have developed complications that make it impossible for them to work. These records must be completed by a licensed physician to be considered credible.

I am eligible for the muscular dystrophy disability benefits. Now what?

The next step after being eligible for the benefits is to apply. To apply for benefits for your muscular dystrophy disorder, follow these steps:

  • Gather medical documentation: Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnoses, treatment history, medications, and any documentation of the impact of muscular dystrophy on your daily life and ability to work.
  • Review eligibility requirements: Muscular dystrophy disorders may fall under the category of neurological disorders, so understanding the specific criteria and limitations is crucial.
  • Complete the application: You can apply for benefits online at the official Social Security Administration website or visit your local SSA office to complete a paper application
  •  Cooperate with the SSA: If requested, attend medical examinations or consultative evaluations arranged by the SSA.

What if you do not meet the criteria of the SSA for muscular dystrophy?

For individuals with muscular dystrophy who don’t meet the disability criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration, there is still an avenue to demonstrate their functional limitations and potentially qualify for benefits. In these situations, a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment is required. This assessment evaluates the individual’s ability to perform work-related tasks, taking into account their physical and mental limitations. The RFC considers factors such as an individual’s ability to stand, walk, lift, and concentrate, as well as their pain levels and other symptoms. By undergoing an RFC assessment, individuals with muscular dystrophy who may not otherwise meet the SSA’s disability criteria can increase their chances of receiving the benefits they need.

RFC refers to evaluating an individual’s ability to perform work-related activities despite their impairments. It assesses the functional limitations caused by the condition and how they impact various physical and mental abilities required for work. 

RFC evaluations are a useful tool for individuals with muscular dystrophy who may not meet the medical criteria set by the SSA. These evaluations assess an individual’s functional limitations and how they affect their ability to perform work-related activities.

How much is the disability check for Muscular Dystrophy?

Suppose you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income. In that case, the maximum monthly benefits will be $914. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance, the maximum monthly disability payment will be $3627. However, the actual benefit amount may vary depending on your work, income history, and how severe is your medical condition. 

Disability Benefits Denied? Contact Chermol & Fishman LLC

Applying for SSDI benefits can be a confusing and frustrating process. Disability lawyers in Miami may help to ease the burden and reduce the legal complexities you may face during the disability claim process. They may guide you throughout the application process from start to end. Schedule a free consultation or call 888-774-7243 for detailed insights on your disability claim.

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