Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a condition where a person’s immune system attacks their nerves.

The immune system destroys the myelin sheath that covers the nerves. This interferes with the nerves’ ability to function, and the results can leave a person severely disabled. Multiple sclerosis can cause a large number of problems:

  • Motor function problems such as dizziness, numbness, paralysis, involuntary movement, and loss of coordination and fine motor control.
  • Fatigue, including both the patient feeling that they lack energy and the physical effects of fatigue. The person might need extra sleep, or they might even sleep for long periods of time and still not be rested.
  • Cognitive problems such as lowered memory, personality changes, emotional problems, inability to concentrate, and loss of reasoning and thinking abilities.
  • Vision problems, such as loss of visual acuity, field of vision, and visual efficiency. This might also include blind or blurred spots, double vision, or uncontrollable eye movements.
  • The exact way these problems happen is different from person to person. In some cases, symptoms come in episodes or “relapses.” For a time, the symptoms drop off, then suddenly become very severe.

    Multiple sclerosis usually begins between ages 20 and 40. If someone in your family has the disease, then you are also at risk. There is no way to cure multiple sclerosis. It is a lifelong condition that gradually gets worse. Current treatment focuses on managing the condition.

    Multiple sclerosis affects all work-related activities. If you can’t use your body, you wouldn’t be able to do physical activities ranging from heavy lifting to driving to typing. Cognitive problems can be just as debilitating if you can’t remember what you’re supposed to be doing, or can’t concentrate on or understand your job. If you have vision problems, then you would have trouble seeing the work that you’re supposed to be doing. A person who is suffering from constant fatigue wouldn’t have the energy to do work.


Joanne filed a claim for SSDI on April 11, 2014. Joanne’s claim was initially denied initially on August 20, 2014, and again upon reconsideration on October 24, 201. Joanne appeared at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Seattle, Washington on September 22, 2015. Joanne was represented by John Chihak. A vocational expert appeared… Read more »