Social Security Disability and TM

Hello Friends:

Unfortunately if you are reading this you are probably part of a group that has Transverse Myelitis. In the beginning it (our unwanted guest) may have been called Acute Transverse Myelitis and other things. In the end, many/most of us are faced with a number of physical limitations which prevent us from engaging in sustained work activity. The question that comes to mind is weather or not you qualify for disability payments. In the U.S. there is Social Security Disability for those who have worked and in some instances for their children. Over the years there have been questions about acquiring such benefits and I’ve tried to help. This document and the attachments are my attempt to put in place a permanent piece of information that all can use.

The Social Security Administration takes into account a number of factors when determining if a person is eligible for SS Disability. They examine the applicants age, education and work experience but the primary factor is weather or not a person meets their Listing of Impairments in total or in part. If it is only in part they then fall back on age, education and previous work experience. I believe that those of us with TM who have physical limitations may qualify for Social Security Disability and it is our responsibility to get our treating neurologist to write the necessary letter(s) which convince the S.S. Administration of our limitations. Attached are the “Listing of Impairments for Neurological disorders." You will see in these listings items that I have highlighted which reflect many of the physical limitations that we endure daily. You may want to give your physician a copy of these listing and ask that he cite them directly when preparing his letter. A final warning I might add is that one should not wait too long to apply, that is, once you have passed the two year mark, if you haven’t already applied it is nearing time. The disability must exist for a year or be reasonably expected to last a year or more for benefits to be granted. The sooner one applies the better. This warning is because S.S. is like any insurance and that you only have a certain length of time after the accident, in our case the TM diagnosis, to apply.

I have also attached a sample of a letter that undoubtedly needs a lot of work that the physician can prepare for your application for Social Security. This same language should be used in ALL applications for disability. If your physical disability has resulted in a psychological component there are also a set of Listings of Mental Impairments which can be obtained and used by your treating psychologist/psychiatrist.

I hope this works for all of you.

Roger Livingston

Additional Information:

Go to Transverse Myelitis Association web site