I was recently asked by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to assist with a complete revision of their Social Security Disability Guidebook, made necessary by recent changes to the SSA regulations controlling these claims. The new Guidebook can be found here.
In the Guidebook, we explain that there are two ways to become approved for disability benefits: (1) approval under a ‘listing’, or a specific checklist addressing your condition, or (2) approval under the ‘grids’, a set of rules that apply to all applicants, regardless of their condition. A new multiple sclerosis listing was issued by the Social Security Administration in late 2016, revising the prior listing that had been in place for decades. The new listing reduces the historic emphasis on fatigue, and requires all but the most physically limited multiple sclerosis patients to show both physical and mental limitations. I am waiting to see how these new guidelines are interpreted by the courts, but my first impression is that these changes will not benefit the MS community.
Nevertheless, many of my multiple sclerosis cases have been approved under the grids without use of the listings, and I look forward to helping shape how these rules are interpreted in the future.