Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest Post by Molly Clarke: Myasthenia Gravis and SSD

This post is written by Molly Clarke. Molly writes for the Social Security Disability Help blog where she works to promote disability awareness and assist those throughout the Social Security Disability application process. You can reach Molly at

Applying for SSD Benefits When You Have Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a neuromuscular disease that affects the autoimmune system, and can cause groups of muscles to become significantly weakened for a period of time. As this condition becomes more severe, individuals may find it increasingly difficult to function at work.

Lack of income and medical insurance can cause severe financial distress.  If you find yourself facing these circumstances, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.  The following article will give you a better understanding of the Social Security Disability benefit system.

Myasthenia Gravis and Social Security Disability

Myasthenia gravis affects each person differently. In some cases, the condition can be mild and easily controlled with treatment. In other cases, MG progresses quickly and becomes completely debilitating. To determine whether you qualify for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate your specific symptoms and how they affect your ability to work.

To qualify for disability benefits with myasthenia gravis you must meet at least one of the following criteria:

Trouble Talking and Breathing – The SSA acknowledges that individuals who have myasthenia gravis often experience difficulty breathing, talking, and swallowing. If you are experiencing substantial trouble with these tasks, even after receiving treatment, you will likely qualify for Social Security Disability.

Difficulty Using Arms and/or Legs – Myasthenia gravis can cause difficulty controlling the muscles in the arms, hands, legs and feet. This can complicate simple tasks like walking, standing, sitting, grabbing, pulling, pushing and carrying.  If considerable muscle weakness and/or fatigue make it impossible for you to complete typical workplace activities, you may be eligible for SSD benefits.

Disability Programs
It is important to note that the SSA offers two separate disability programs that each have their own set of technical qualification requirements.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) provides benefits to sick or disabled workers. This program is funded by Social Security taxes.  To qualify for SSDI, applicants must have adequate work history. To learn more about SSDI, visit this page:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that is designed to assist low-income individuals that are blind, over the age of 65, or meet the disability requirements.  Eligibility and the amount of monthly assistance provided are determined by the applicant’s financial standing. Learn more about these requirements here:

Preparing for the Application Process

The SSA is flooded with applications for disability benefits, and majority of these applications are denied because the applicants do not meet the requirements, or do not provide medical evidence to support their claim. You can increase your chances of approval by thoroughly preparing for the application process.

To build a strong and compelling disability application, you will need to provide detailed medical records that demonstrate the severity and frequency of your symptoms. These records should include documentation of your medical history, including all of the times you have received treatment and/or been hospitalized due to complications of myasthenia gravis. It is also wise to include assessments and recommendations from your physicians that explain your prognosis and the limitations you face due to your illness.

The Social Security disability application procedures can be overwhelming; however it is important to remember that this program exists to provide you with the financial assistance you need. To learn more about Social Security Disability benefits, visit Social Security Disability Help or contact Molly Clarke at

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