Every day, thousands of people in the United States are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition. In most instances, this disability means that they will struggle simply to survive. Without a Social Security Disability (SSD)determination, they may be unable to meet their financial obligations or even pay for the treatment that they need. Receiving SSD or SSI benefits may be a claimant’s best hope.
When you are disabled, you face a number of physical, emotional and financial challenges no matter your injury or illness. But when you have little known disease things become even more difficult. You may feel that people doubt your illness and inability to work. Getting SSD benefits may seem out of reach when you have a condition such as multiple chemical sensitivities.
However, with the right medical documentation and legal help, you can get the benefits that you deserve and so desperately need.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and Applying for SSD
Multiple Chemical Sensitivities(MCS) goes by a variety of names, including environmental illness or idiopathic environmental intolerance. Having the condition means that the common chemicals in your home and work environment are making you ill. While some people can tolerate these chemicals, others become quite sick after minimal exposure and develop a variety of sometimes crippling symptoms. People with this disorder often feel isolated and misunderstood because the public is not well-informed about the condition. Even some medical professionals are skeptical. But if you suffer from MCS, you may be unable to work and need to seek SSD payments.
Causes of MCS
The suspected chemical causes of MCS can make anyone ill if the exposure is great enough, but those that suffer from the condition appear to have a special sensitivity to these substances. It’s been compared to an allergic reaction. Chemicals that are found in common substances like carpeting, perfumes, plants, plastics, and paint have been identified as triggers for some MCS sufferers. While the majority of people might suffer symptoms if exposed to large amounts of these chemicals, those with the disease may react strongly to small amounts such as the perfume that lingers after a wearer has left an elevator.
The number of trigger chemicals is unknown at this point, but scientists are conducting more research. It’s possible that some people are born with a heightened sensitivity to chemicals or that a specific environmental event triggered their issue.
Some experts believe that depression and anxiety may play a role in the condition as well.
MCS symptoms are common ones that can be the result of a number of other conditions, which makes diagnosing MCS quite difficult. Currently, there are no medical tests that can absolutely prove that you have MCS. Medical specialists are forced to eliminate other conditions before rendering their diagnosis. Common symptoms of the disease include:
- Skin rashes
- Sore throat
- Chest pain
- Muscle pain or stiffness
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Memory issues
Since there is a broad range of symptoms and no specific test for MCS, medical professionals are still debating whether or not it is a clinical diagnosis or more a result of mental illness. A significant number of doctors do believe MCS is a physical illness, however, and they treat it as such.
Unfortunately, there is also a lack of specific treatment for this condition. Doctors can prescribe medications that relieve the symptoms, such as headaches, but there is no preventative measure other than identifying the triggering substances and avoiding them. This process is best done by the patient through a process of trial and error.
Doctors may prescribe patients anti-depressants like Prozac, Paxil and Celexa as well as sleep aids and anxiety medication to treat the mental component of the disease.
Some patients find relief from this process while others do not. The symptoms can become so overwhelming that they make working anywhere an impossibility.
MCS and Social Security Disability
While no one doubts that MCS sufferers are sick, the range of symptoms and the erratic nature of the condition causes some professionals to view it suspiciously. The old “It’s all in your head” mentality comes rushing to the forefront. Of course, no one has ever managed to wish themselves well. If you are suffering from a severe case of MCS, you may not be able to work. That’s when you need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI.)
Since MCS is not considered a disability on it’s own, you will have to prove your disability in other ways. MCS is not in the Social Security Blue Book of disabling conditions, but you may suffer symptoms that will qualify under another listing. For instance, you may suffer breathing problems that qualify you under the asthma listing or skin issues that fulfill the dermatitis qualifications. You may also be eligible under chronic pulmonary disease or immune deficiency disorder.
If you don’t qualify under an existing disabling condition, you can be awarded benefits by showing that you have a condition that is equal to those listed by the SSA.
Residual Functional Capacity Form
If you don’t qualify by meeting a listing requirement, you may be able to get benefits by showing that no work environment is safe for you. To determine your eligibility under these conditions, the SSA will use an RFC or Residual Functional Capacity form. This form will be used to look at your sensory, physical and mental abilities to determine if you can perform any job. For some patients, the air in any modern facility may trigger extreme symptoms. If you can work with some adaptations made for you, then you will not qualify for benefits. However, if an employer cannot reasonably meet your needs, you may be able to receive SSDI or SSI.
This determination is particularly important since MCS sufferers are unlikely to recover from their illness since there is no particular cure or even specialized treatment for the condition. Of course, since this will likely be a long-term or lifelong determination, the SSA is quite careful about making it. They greatly prefer clear cut cases of disability, and MCS is seldom if ever clear cut. That’s why you will need a knowledgeable SSD lawyer to help you with your claim. If you try and go it alone, your chances of success, in this instance, are low.
The Good Law Group
The attorneys at The Good Law Group have decades of experience dealing with the SSA over SSI and SSDI claims. These specialists understand what evidence is necessary to convince the SSA of your disability. These attorneys have already had success in presenting MCS claims for their clients. At The Good Law Group, they can guide you through every step of the disability process and increase your chances of being approved the first time you apply.
Getting SSD benefits for MCS is difficult, especially if you try to win them on your own. This process requires specialist Social Security attorneys who understand the problems with an MCS diagnosis. Until the medical community comes to an agreement about this disease, fighting for your disability rights will be a tough battle – one The Good Law Group knows how to win.