Working After a Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis
You most likely sought out testing after noticing your body wasn’t responding to simple directives, but it hadn’t reached a point where it was affecting your ability to work. If you were able to perform your duties prior to the diagnosis, you should be able to continue your duties going forward. Your physician should be able to give you guidance as to how your MS disability is likely to progress and give you an idea of how long you can expect to stay able-bodied enough for employment.
Something to keep in mind is that you have no legal obligation to tell your employer about your diagnosis. However, if you want to keep working at your current place of employment, you need to tell your employer in order to give them the opportunity to provide reasonable accommodations to help you do your work.
How to Accommodate People With a Disability at Work
Employers are required by law to make reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities even if their disability came about after they were employed. Reasonable accommodation means giving the employee a desk nearer to a bathroom, placing them on a lower floor or positioning them near an elevator for ease of access, and allowing them to take breaks as needed. However, if the needs of the employee go beyond what the employer can reasonably accommodate, both parties should re-evaluate their relationship with one another.
Special Equipment to Help an MS Sufferer do Their Job
In the event that your MS is mild or you’re still able to work with the help of aids, you can approach your employer about getting the aids for you, or reimbursing you for their purchase. Some aids that can help with the issues of MS include:
- Voice recognition software
- Text reading software
- Magnifying screen for monitor
- Trackball mouse
- Ergonomic keyboard
- Wrist rest for keyboard and mouse
- Ergonomic chair
All of these items are designed to alleviate stress on joints and make it easier to get comfortable when limbs feel heavy and hard to move. They also allow someone with MS to do their job with reasonable accommodation and their provision won’t inconvenience the employer.
Apps to Help People With MS at Work
Smartphone apps can help MS patients manage their condition throughout their working day and help find support for dealing with workplace accommodations. Here are some apps that can be of assistance:
My Multiple Sclerosis Diary
My Multiple Sclerosis Diary is geared towards patients who have to inject medication on a regular basis. The app helps track which site on the body was used for injection, has alarms to help remind you of an injection, and a notepad so you can write down anything you want to address with your physician.
My MS Manager
This app was created by the MS Association of America and is designed to track symptoms, fatigue levels, medications, and has a daily journal so you can enter details that aren’t covered by other areas of the app. My MS Manager covers most of the issues associated with MS and can help you create a fully detailed log of your experiences.
CareZone is not strictly an app for MS, but it can help with health management. It allows you to scan pictures of your medicine bottles with the relevant information on them, has automatic reminders for taking medication or track health information, and can save your insurance cards. The app works across multiple platforms so you can log in on any device and anywhere you have a secure internet connection.
How an Employee can get Help with MS Disability
Unfortunately for some, there comes a point where the disease progresses to the point where working a regular schedule becomes difficult or impossible. Some employers may decide to go to extraordinary lengths to accommodate an employee with MS and find ways to allow them to keep working from home or get them to the place of work. However, not all employers will go this far to help an employee and it’s time for the employee to consider getting on disability for multiple sclerosis.
Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, is a government benefit program that pays a monthly stipend for people who are unable to work in any capacity and are unable to return to their previous employment role. In order to qualify, your physician has to certify that you are no longer able to work and are totally disabled even though you are able to get around under your own strength for short periods of time. Qualifying is not easy and most applications are denied for various reasons. If you’re considering disability for multiple sclerosis, get help from a lawyer who’s familiar with SSDI and can help you with the application process.
Multiple sclerosis is a difficult condition to live with, and it can affect your ability to advance in your career. Work closely with your physician to treat the disease, use apps to track your symptoms, and talk to your employer about accommodations for your current physical status. Monitoring your condition can help you live a better life and keep you mobile for longer.