• Rachel Gaffney

Disability Benefits with Muscular Dystrophy

Updated: Mar 11


How to Qualify for Disability Benefits with Muscular Dystrophy

SSD Outreach Specialist


The Congenital Muscular Dystrophy (CMD) community knows all too well that CMD can affect a variety of systems, including the GI tract, cardiovascular, endocrine glands, skin, eyes, brain, and nervous systems. Various symptoms may affect your ability to work for a given time and, if you are unable to work and earn a living because of CMD, you may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).


Meeting the Medical Criteria

The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if a claimant qualifies for disability benefits. The way the process works could be affected by the specific kind of muscular dystrophy that you have. Many individuals affected by CMD and congenital myopathy qualify through the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program; you will just need to provide proof of a confirmed diagnosis. For those who do no qualify through CAL, you will need to meet the criteria of the listing, which indicates that you must experience the following:


· Lack the ability to speak or understand speech at a functional level

· Lack the ability to effectively use two extremities


Muscular dystrophy claims are reviewed using Section 11.13 of the Blue Book. Medical documentation is essential to a successful disability claim. You will need to provide medical records that confirm the diagnosis, the treatment, the severity of the symptoms, and your restrictions and limitations.


Using a Medical Vocational Allowance

If you cannot meet the requirements of a Blue Book listing, then you may still qualify for disability benefits using a medical vocational allowance. Using this approach, you will need to provide a residual functional capacity (RFC) form completed by your doctor. This form will fully detail what you can and cannot do.

It will indicate how long you can stand, if you can reach, how much you can carry, how far you can walk, how frequently you must reposition, if you can grasp, your ability to live, and so forth. It is so detailed it will provide a clear picture of your abilities to the Disability Examiner.

The Disability Examiner will use all your provided details to complete an RFC for you, but if your treating physician provides one that will be given great consideration and can get your claim approved.


Getting the Disability Claim Underway

If you are ready to file a disability claim for CMD, there are different ways that you can get the process started. You can go to the SSA website and start the claim or you can call 1-800-772-1213 and speak with a representative or schedule an appointment at one of the more than 1,300 SSA field offices. Once approved, you can use your benefits to help with daily living needs, such as medication, rent, doctors appointments, utilities, etc.


Helpful Links:

Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm

Compassionate Allowances: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/compassionate-allowances

Section 11.13: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/11.00-Neurological-Adult.htm - 11_13

RFC Form: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms/images/SSA4/G-SSA-4734-U8-1.pdf

SSA Offices: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/state-social-security-disability

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