Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Your Rights and Support Options
Ability Central connects people with multiple sclerosis (MS) to their rights, financial aid options, assistive technology (AT), and support groups.
By Ability Central
27 February, 2023
Multiple sclerosis (MS) requires a long-term care strategy. Given the unknowns of the disease, developing that strategy may seem overwhelming. In this article, Ability Central focuses on the four things people with MS should consider in their long-term planning, including:
- What medical and financial aid programs assist people with MS?
- What assistive technology should a person with MS consider?
- Will a person with MS require a long-term care facility, and how can I find one?
- Where can I find a support group?
What medical and financial aid programs assist people in America with MS?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers a free publication that explains what that means in-depth, including protection from discrimination:
- At work
- In public accommodations
- In transportation
- In telecommunications
- In government agencies and facilities
In addition, the US government offers several options to help with medical expenses.
- Medicare covers people with permanent disabilities and those 65 years old or older.
- Medicaid covers people with disabilities who have lower incomes.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) offers health coverage for modest-income families who do not qualify for Medicaid.
- The Affordable Care Act (ACA) may also assist those who qualify.
If you are over 55, the Benefits Checkup Tool from the National Council of Aging is available to verify you are receiving all the government assistance for which you are qualified.
The US Government provides a similar tool that is not age specific.
In addition, the MS Society offers a list of resources that provide financial assistance for:
- Assistive technologies (AT)
- College scholarships
- Financial planning services
- Health Insurance
- Medication Assistance
What assistive technology (AT) should a person with MS consider?
Assistive Technology (AT) can help people with MS improve their quality of life and independence. These tools can make the everyday tasks of life more manageable. Some of the most common aids are:
- Cooking Tools
- Housekeeping Tools
- Bathroom Aids
- Grooming Tools
- Walking Aids
- Driving Modifications
- Reading Tools
- Writing Aids
AAC devices may also be an option for people with MS. Also known as augmentative or alternative communication devices, AAC devices empower the user to communicate more clearly using anything as simple as a pen and paper to sophisticated options like custom-built speech tablets. An AAC device provides necessary access to communication and information that creates independence.
According to MultipleSclerosis.net, most insurance plans will cover prescribed AT. Check with your insurance to see what information they need to cover an AT device.
Will a person with MS require a long-term care facility, and how can I find one?
Assisted living is long-term housing for people who need various levels of medical and personal care. They promote independence while having medical care readily available.
If you are looking into the cost of a long-term care facility and want to know what questions to ask, A Place for Mom is a great place to start.
Where can I find a support group?
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, “speaking with other people who have MS can be one of the most empowering and helpful things for someone with MS. Sharing stories, feelings, and experiences with people in similar situations is not only therapeutic, but also enlightening, and can often improve emotional health.”
There are many MS support groups, both online and in-person. Check out:
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Healthline’s MS Buddy App
- MS World, which is run by volunteers with multiple sclerosis
- The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation Facebook page
- The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) online forum
- Patients Like Me
Do you have a question about MS that is not addressed here?
Ability Central offers a library of additional resources, including:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Quick Facts: 6 things to know
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Signs and symptoms
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): What to do after receiving the diagnosis