The 46-year-old actress was diagnosed in August 2018 after experiencing symptoms of the disease for seven years.
In revealing her diagnosis, Blair wrote on Instagram: “I have Multiple Sclerosis. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”
Blair went on to do an on-camera interview this spring with Good Morning America, sharing her experience of living with MS while in a full flare-up of the disease that affects her speech, her ability to walk and her motor skills.
Her bravery and candid talk about living with MS is bringing awareness to this serious, debilitating and often disabling disease that affects at least 2.3 million people worldwide, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. It is 2 to 3 times more common in women than men.
As Blair told GMA interviewer Robin Roberts, MS is a “snowflake disease” that affects everyone differently. For this reason, it may take a long time to get a diagnosis, as it did for Blair.
While some people with MS are able to continue working, for many people, the disease becomes disabling. If you have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and are unable to work as a result, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
While the Social Security Administration does recognize MS as a chronic illness or impairment that can cause severe disability, an MS diagnosis alone is not sufficient to qualify for SSDI benefits.
Even if you do not meet the specific impairment listing criteria for MS as set by the Social Security Administration, you still may qualify for benefits if your MS symptoms have restricted your ability to work.
At the Deuterman Law Group, we have a lot of experience with Social Security Disability claims involving Multiple Sclerosis. Please reach out to us for help with your claim, especially if you have been denied benefits in the past. You can also get information about applying for Social Security Disability with MS in this helpful guide from the National MS Society.
To qualify for benefits, you must be able to prove the disease and its symptoms prevent you from engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity. The Social Security Administration considers the severity of MS symptoms when making a determination of disability. These symptoms may include:
- Difficulty walking, maintaining balance or engaging in other physical activities
- Difficulty using your arms, hands and fingers to carry out tasks
- Vision problems
- Cognitive difficulties, including attention and memory issues and trouble with information processing, multi-tasking, problem-solving, planning and prioritizing
- Severe fatigue
- Breathing issues or problems with swallowing or speaking
- Severe depression or other mood changes
- Severe and persistent pain
In these types of cases, it’s important to provide a full medical picture of how MS affects your day-to-day life, health and ability to work. It’s important to discuss these issues with your doctors and document the impact and progression of the disease.