Muscular Dystrophy and Social Security Disability Insurance2017-12-19T05:56:18+00:00

Muscular Dystrophy & Social Security Disability Insurance

Learn more about the SSDI approval process for individuals with Muscular Dystrophy.

SSDI Eligibility Guidelines: Muscular Dystrophy

Determine if an individual is working (engaging in substantial gainful activity) according to the SSA definition. Earning more than $1,170 a month as an employee is enough to be disqualified from receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Conclude the muscular dystrophy disability must be severe enough to significantly limit one’s ability to perform basic work activities needed to do most jobs. For example:

  • Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
  • Seeing, hearing and speaking
  • Understanding/carrying out and remembering simple instructions
  • Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
  • Dealing with changes in a routine work setting



Muscular dystrophy is listed under the category of impairments known as Neurological – Medical Listing 11.13. The assessment of muscular dystrophy depends on the degree of interference with locomotion and/or interference with the use of fingers, hands and arms in the form of paresis or paralysis, tremor or other involuntary movements, ataxia and sensory disturbances, which occur singly or in various combinations. If any of the following are present, the individual will be found to be disabled:

  • Significant and persistent disorganization of motor function in two extremities, resulting in sustained disturbance of gross and dexterous movements, or gait and station


Explore the ability of an individual to perform work they have done in the past despite their muscular dystrophy. If the SSA finds that a person can do his or her past work, benefits are denied. If the person cannot, then the process proceeds to the fifth and final step.


Review age, education, work experience and physical/mental condition to determine what other work, if any, the person can perform. To determine muscular dystrophy disability, the SSA enlists medical-vocational rules, which vary according to age.

For example, if a person is:
Under age 50 and, as a result of the symptoms of muscular dystrophy, unable to perform what the SSA calls sedentary work, then the SSA will reach a determination of disabled. Sedentary work requires the ability to lift a maximum of 10 pounds at a time, sit six hours and occasionally walk and stand two hours per eight-hour day.
Age 50 or older and, due to muscular dystrophy, limited to performing sedentary work, but has no work-related skills that allow the person to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Age 55 or older and, due to the disability, limited to performing light work, but has no work-related skills that allow the person to do so, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.
Over age 60 and, due to muscular dystrophy, unable to perform any of the jobs he or she performed in the last 15 years, the SSA likely will reach a determination of disabled.
Any age and, because of muscular dystrophy, has a psychological impairment that prevents even simple, unskilled work, the SSA will reach a determination of disabled.

SSDI & Muscular Dystrophy: A Personal Story

Read how one person’s journey to approval was made easier with True Help.

Former Triathlete Faces Muscular Dystrophy

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