Is Muscular Dystrophy a Disability?

boy in a wheel chair with muscular dystrophy working with a doctor

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a group of more than 30 inherited diseases, each of which affects people differently. When muscular dystrophy takes away your ability to maintain gainful employment, it qualifies as a disability – and the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes certain symptoms of the disease as a cause for benefits.

If you are interested in filing a muscular dystrophy disability claim or appealing a denial, Nolan & Shafer PLC can help. First, however, we wanted to share some valuable information about muscular dystrophy and social security claims.

What Is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) refers to a group of genetic diseases that causes muscle weakness and muscle loss. There are more than 30 forms of muscular dystrophy, many of which emerge during childhood. These conditions can affect anyone at any time of their life, although DMD is the most common form of children and DM is the most common form in adults.

The most common types of muscular dystrophy include:

  • Duchenne (DMD) and Becker (BMD) – caused by mutations in the same gene; affects the upper legs and upper arms
  • Myotonic (DM) – affects the face, neck, arms, hands, hips, and lower legs
  • Congenital (CMD) – affects the neck, upper arms, upper legs, and lungs
  • Emery-Dreifuss (EDMD) – affects the arms, legs, heart, and joints
  • Facioscapulohumeral (FSHD) – affects the face, shoulders, and upper arms
  • Limb-girdle (LGMD) – affects the upper arms and upper legs
  • Distal (DD) – affects the feet, hands, lower legs, and lower arms
  • Oculopharyngeal (OPMD) – affects the eyes and throat

There is no cure for muscular dystrophy and treatments vary.

Social Security for Muscular Dystrophy

For your Social Security Disability (SSD) claim, the symptoms you are dealing with are more important than the name of your condition. Some people with muscular dystrophy face manageable symptoms, but any patient can experience progressive and debilitating symptoms.

The SSA evaluates muscular dystrophy in section 11.13 of the Medical/Professional Relations bluebook for adults and section 111.13 for children.

The listings support disability claims for adults who:

  • Have a “disorganization of motor function in two extremities resulting in extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities.”
  • Have a marked limitation in physical functioning
  • Have a marked limitation in understanding, remembering, or applying information
  • Have a marked limitation in interacting with others
  • Have a marked limitation in concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace
  • Have a marked limitation in adapting or managing oneself

In simpler terms, you may be eligible for disability benefits if you have lost the use of two hands or legs or one hand and one leg; if you are unable to walk without a cane or walker, or you are unable to perform tasks like writing, grasping, or opening doorknobs with your hands.

All these disabilities make it difficult, if not impossible, to work. That’s why it’s so important for you to receive SSD benefits.

If you do not meet the SSA listings we outlined above, you may still be eligible for SSD benefits. Muscular dystrophy can also affect your ability to speak, balance, or see, and it can get more difficult to manage with age. Your claim may be covered under the Compassionate Allowance list, and if you are over 50, your claim can be determined by the Medical-Vocational Guidelines (SSA Grid Rules).

If you haven’t filed your claim already, now is the time to do so! Our firm can show you how.

Denied Disability? Don’t Give Up!

Denial can be discouraging.

What can you do when your livelihood is taken away?

First of all, don’t give up – you could still win benefits. In fact, you should know that most people are denied on their initial application. Now, your next step is testifying before in administrative law judge, which can be a nerve-racking process. Still, you don’t have to take the next steps alone. We can help you prepare your medical evidence and prepare for the questions the judge will ask during your hearing.

With our disability attorneys at Nolan & Shafer PLC, there’s no fee unless we win your case. Call us at (231) 403-0040 or contact us online today to discuss your situation.

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