Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SSI SSDI Disability Benefits for Myasthenia Gravis and Autoimmune Diseases Through Social Security

Help for Myasthenia Gravis Patients
that face financial burdens

Having an autoimmune disease like Myasthenia Gravis will change your life in many ways. For many, the financial burden can be great. The worry of losing an income may bring up the subject of applying for social security disability benefits. The following article by Ram Meyyappan offers an overview of the process of applying for benefits through the Social Security Administration and establishing your eligibility for SSI and SSDI.

Applying for Disability with Myasthenia Gravis

If you suffer from Myasthenia Gravis, you may be able to receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s):
1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and/or
2. Supplemental Security Income ( SSI) program.

To get benefits through either program,
you must meet the medical and technical eligibility criteria defined by the Social Security Administration.

For both programs, this means meeting the SSA’s (Social Security Administration) definition of disability and the specific medical evidence requirements for documenting the severity level of your Myasthenia Gravis.

The SSA’s Definition of Disability
The SSA defines disability very strictly. It requires that you have a medical condition that prevents you from earning what is considered a gainful living in your previous line of work or any other line of work that you are qualified for. As of 2013, The SSA defines substantial gainful activity as working at a job where you can earn more than $1,040 per month.
Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic condition that meets this basic requirement; though there are additional medical criteria the SSA has defined for the severity level of your condition in order for it to qualify you for disability benefits.

The SSA’s Listing for Myasthenia Gravis
Although Myasthenia Gravis is a chronic condition that can potentially be disabling, it can often be successfully managed through the use of medications and other therapies.

In order to qualify for disability benefits, your Myasthenia Gravis must be severe and unresponsive to available treatments. In other words, it must still significantly limit you even when following prescribed treatments in order to qualify you for disability benefits.

The SSA’s listing for Myasthenia Gravis specifically requires your application and medical records to show you continue to experience:
1. Pronounced breathing, swallowing, or speaking difficulties even while on prescribed treatments, or
2. Profound motor muscle weakness with repetitive exertion, even while on prescribed treatments.

Because Myasthenia Gravis is only considered to be disabling after you have been on prescribed therapies for some time, the SSA typically holds an application for disability benefits for five months after the date of diagnosis.

In other words, if you file your disability application immediately after receiving a diagnosis, your application will not be reviewed until at least five months have passed. This is because the Social Security Administration wants to see if you respond to prescribed treatments before processing your application.

Work Credits and SSDI Benefits
If your Myasthenia Gravis meets the SSA’s listing, then you will receive SSDI benefits, as long as you meet the technical criteria for the program.

To be technically eligible to get SSDI, you must have paid into the SSDI fund over the ten years just prior to becoming disabled. Payments are made to the fund through payroll taxes, which means you must have worked in a substantial amount in the last ten years prior to have the work credits built up.

There are additionally other things that can affect your accumulation of work credits, like the amount of money you made and how old you are at the time you become disabled.

You can learn more about work credit requirements here:
Even if you do not have sufficient work credits, you may still be able to receive disability benefits in the form of SSI benefits.

Financial Income/Resource Limitations and SSI Benefits
SSI is a need-based program designed to give benefits to disabled workers and their dependents that either:
1.Don’t have the work credits to receive SSDI or
2.Have very limited income and other financial resources.

To determine if you are eligible to receive SSI benefits, the SSA will review your financial details closely. Some income and resources count in this review, while others do not. The computation of income and resources is quite complex. You can get more information about the income and resource limit for SSI here:

Submitting your Application
To initiate your claim for benefits, you must complete the SSA’s disability application. This can be done online with the SSA’s website or you can make an appointment to complete your application with the assistance of a Social Security representative in your local SSA office.

You should work closely with your doctor to collect the appropriate medical documentation for supporting your claim. You may also want to consider getting help with your application from a Social Security advocate or attorney.

*Further Information: First, a highly rated book from that is filled with details about applying for social security disability is very popular: Nolo's Guide to Social Security Disability...  It is comprehensive and the very first review that I read was given by somebody that was approved the first time. Apparently many people have to go through the application process multiple times because the government wants every question answered a certain way and all 'all your t's crossed and every i dotted'.

Then there is an online e-book that is actually written for the purpose of getting you approved for SSI benefits with your first application. It is a quicker read than the book and get's to the issue of applying for help with little known or unlisted diseases (such as myasthenia gravis). It is actually a step-by-step Guide To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits, complete with sample answers, letters, and forms.

The author was stricken with a life changing illness that would not have normally been acceptable for benefits. But she researched every detail and anticipated every twist and turn in the process. And she was approved - the very first time. That lead her to develop a methodology that would allow others get benefits with their first application. Read her story and compare it to the book to see which might be better for you. To find out more, Click Here.

Article contributed by Ram Meyyappan

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