Focus on Symptoms, Not Just Diagnoses

​When the MEB process begins in your case, you will often be asked what conditions impact your ability to perform your assigned duties. When answering this question and developing your case, think about your symptoms as well as your primary diagnoses.   For example, many people come to me with a clinical diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”)- a diagnosis meriting a 30% minimum rating. To obtain a higher rating, you must demonstrate the impact of the condition upon you. Most prospective clients focus on their fatigue, not realizing that they will have to meet the criteria for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to obtain an increase due to fatigue alone. On the other hand, many of them experience debilitating migraines after taking Avonex or other prescribed injections. Such migraines reduce their ability to concentrate, perform assigned tasks and follow instructions for conversations.   Depending upon the frequency and severity of these headaches, this may add another 30 to 50% to the value of their case.   The same holds true for clients with Ulcerative Colitis as well. Thus, when conversing with your counsel, be sure to mention all your symptoms, not simply your primary unfitting diagnoses.