While many in New Jersey and around the nation can lead normal lives with multiple sclerosis, the condition can sometimes become severe enough that disability benefits are needed to care for financial obligations and pay for healthcare costs. The type of benefits multiple sclerosis sufferers can qualify for will depend on a variety of factors, such as their employment and health status.
Short-term disability benefits
When temporary health problems cause individuals to miss work for brief periods, short-term disability benefits can make up for most, if not all, of their salaries. Individuals can purchase plans through their employers or on their own. Be aware though that it is almost impossible to purchase plans once the diagnosis of MS has been given because most commercial insurers will not cover those with this condition. When living with a pre-existing condition, purchasing plans from an employer is better because individuals will be approved as part of the group coverage. When purchasing short-term disability from an employer, there is usually a waiting period to use the coverage.
Long-term disability benefits can also be offered through employers. These benefits kick in once short-term disability benefits end. Just like short-term disability, there is a waiting period to use these plans as well. Be aware that most long-term disability plans can have a cap on lifetime benefits, so plan accordingly.
Social Security Disability benefits
To have benefits through the Social Security Administration, individuals must fill out an application and meet certain requirements. To qualify, individuals must meet the definition of what the Social Security Administration considers to be a qualified impairment, and the disability must have lasted longer than 12 months. Individuals must also be over the age of 18 to apply for themselves.
The process of obtaining disability benefits can be confusing and stressful. Never be afraid to reach out for help when things become too difficult.