- Consult a lawyer to acquire disability benefits for MS and request workplace accommodations under the ADA.
- Apply for SSDI benefits to receive financial assistance and stability in health and finances.
- Research local and state laws that offer additional rights to people living with MS.
- Prepare documents outlining guardianship plans in the event of medical events or progression.
When a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), it can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. Not only do they need to manage their physical symptoms, but they may also have to navigate the legal landscape of disability rights. Fortunately, there are actions that people living with MS can take to protect their rights and ensure that they get the support and care that they need.
Consult a lawyer about disability benefits.
Acquiring disability benefits for physical impairments such as multiple sclerosis is an important legal action that those diagnosed should take. Consulting with a lawyer is the best first step in this process, as the necessary paperwork and processes can be complex and time-consuming.
Qualified attorneys will have their strategies for helping clients acquire benefits, and law firms often have specialized lawyers to assist those with special medical cases. They will be able to guide individuals through each step of applying for benefits and have resources available to maximize success in acquiring them. Thus, there is an enormous benefit in having a competent legal representative on one’s side when going through this process.
Know your legal rights.
Here are some tips on knowing your legal rights as someone diagnosed with MS
Request accommodations at work under the ADA
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are legally entitled to request accommodations at work. This applies to any U.S. workplace with 15 or more employees, allowing employees to make reasonable adjustments that accommodate their disabilities or illnesses.
Accommodations can take many forms and are often determined on a case-by-case basis; for example, an employee with multiple sclerosis may need additional rest periods throughout the day or require a special chair for better back support.
These accommodations are important for those suffering from MS, providing the opportunity to work without compromising their health care needs, which ultimately improves the quality of life of all those affected by MS. It is essential to adhere to the guidelines outlined under the ADA when requesting accommodations to ensure their protection under its provisions.
Apply for SSDI benefits.
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a valuable legal action if diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. SSDI is a government benefit that provides financial assistance to persons who can no longer work due to a disability like multiple sclerosis. For those diagnosed with MS, SSDI benefits can provide much-needed stability in health and finances.
To apply for SSDI benefits, it is important to get medical evidence of the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and any other relevant medical records and employment history. Once all necessary documents have been obtained, an application must be submitted to Social Security Administration for the process to begin. The process of applying for SSDI should be undertaken carefully, as several technical requirements and deadlines must be followed for proper completion.
Research local and state laws.
Researching local and state laws that provide additional rights to people living with MS is an important legal action after a diagnosis. Depending on where one lives, these laws may offer assistance in the form of housing aids, tax credits, and other benefits.
Knowing how to access these benefits can greatly reduce the potential financial burden of MS, especially for those with limited or fixed incomes. Researching what assistance is available in your area provides an advocate valuable insight on how best to access such resources for themselves or their families.
Prepare a legal document outlining guardianship plans.
As a legal action when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it is important to properly prepare a comprehensive legal document that outlines guardianship plans in the event of progressive or sudden medical events.
This document should include three key components: a durable power of attorney, health care proxy and living will documents. A durable power of attorney allows an individual to appoint a trusted person or persons to make decisions regarding finances and other legal matters if they cannot do so themselves.
A healthcare proxy defines who can decide about an individual’s healthcare and medical treatment should they become incapacitated due to the progression of MS symptoms or other complications associated with the disease. A living will written document expresses what type of medical care and treatments one wishes to receive if their condition becomes life-threatening.
Find resources for filing an appeal if needed.
If a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and their SSDI benefits are denied initially, it is important to explore organizational resources and consult an experienced lawyer specializing in disability law. Doing research and consulting lawyers are integral steps in properly filing an appeal.
Online advocacy organizations can guide the appeal process as most organizations are dedicated to helping people like those affected by MS navigate their rights with the system. Consulting a lawyer specializing in multiple sclerosis and understanding the appeals process is pivotal in understanding any legal action that may need to be taken.
These are just a few legal actions that those diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can take to protect their rights. It is important for those diagnosed to be aware of these options, and consult the appropriate professionals before taking any legal action.