Survey Finds People Living With Multiple Sclerosis Can Experience Decline in Financial Wellness

More Than Two-Thirds of Survey Participants Report Their Financial Stability Has Been Negatively Impacted After Diagnosis

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A groundbreaking survey conducted by National Disability Institute and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) reveals three out of four people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) have difficulty covering their monthly expenses and more than two-thirds report their financial stability declined after diagnosis.

More than 3,000 people living with MS representing all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico participated in the survey. National Disability Institute and the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America conducted the survey as part of a financial wellness education initiative launched last year with the support of a grant from Acorda Therapeutics.

The survey report, "Financial Wellness Among Individuals Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)," shows despite high education levels – which usually correspond with higher incomes, lower unemployment and poverty rates, and limited dependence on public benefits – many people with MS struggle financially, have difficulty maintaining or securing employment after diagnosis, and lack awareness of financial information and programs to help them build brighter financial futures. The survey found:

  • 67 percent of participants report their financial stability decreased after MS diagnosis;
  • 79 percent have difficulty meeting monthly expenses;
  • Nearly 74 percent were neither aware of nor had used available financial stability programs;
  • More than half have no "trusted point of contact" for financial information or rely on family for advice;
  • More than half worry that earnings or savings will negatively impact public benefits;
  • 61 percent reported an annual household income under $50,000.

The survey found that while 98 percent of participants graduated high school, 81 percent attended college and 15 percent held graduate or professional degrees, only one-third of participants reported being employed. The survey also revealed that the intermittent diagnosis and nature of MS bouts can limit work and cause underemployment, jeopardizing economic stability.

To help people living with MS take steps toward improved financial wellness, National Disability Institute will once again host a free Financial Wellness Webinar Series for people living with MS. The six-part series, sponsored by Acorda Therapeutics, kicks off on Wed., Sept. 5, at 3 p.m. ET and will run through December 2012. Each webinar will focus on a different financial wellness topic and will be led by top experts in tax, money management, benefits, employment, Social Security and other areas of personal finance. The series is designed to assist people living with MS, their family members and care teams. Register for the free webinars online at

"This survey not only exposes important truths about the state of financial wellness for people with MS, but also sheds light on the lack of economic stability for most Americans with disabilities. The latest Census data shows nearly 1 in 3 people with disabilities lives in poverty – nearly double the national average and one of the highest poverty rates of any underserved population in America," said Michael Morris, executive director of National Disability Institute, the first national non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to building a better economic future for all people with disabilities.

"Every person in our nation deserves the opportunity to achieve the American dream," Morris added. "National Disability Institute is honored to be able to provide important educational tools such as the Financial Wellness Webinar series to people living with MS, their families and care teams to create new pathways out of poverty toward employment and economic self-sufficiency."

"As the results of our survey clearly show, the impact of MS extends well beyond one's physical health. The effect on families and their financial well-being can be equally – and sometimes more – challenging than managing the disease itself," said Bob Rapp, MSAA's Chief Operating Officer.

"People living with MS often face financial challenges related to their disability. They therefore urgently need access to information that can help them protect their financial future," said Ron Cohen, M.D., president and CEO of Acorda Therapeutics. "We are proud to support initiatives like the Financial Wellness Webinar series, which help to fulfill Acorda's mission to improve the lives of people affected by neurological diseases."

To access the full survey report, visit National Disability Institute's website at

About National Disability Institute

National Disability Institute (NDI) is national non-profit organization dedicated to building a better economic future for people with disabilities. The first national organization committed exclusively to championing economic empowerment, financial education, asset development and financial stability for all persons with disabilities, National Disability Institute effects change through public education, policy development, training, technical assistance and innovative initiatives such as the Real Economic Impact (REI) Tour, which brings tax and financial education for people with disabilities to more than 100 cities nationwide. Since 2005, the REI Tour has helped more than 1 million people with disabilities receive more than $1 billion in tax refunds. To learn more, visit

About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the quality of life for everyone affected by multiple sclerosis. MSAA provides vital programs and services, such as: a toll-free, bilingual Helpline; informative publications including a magazine, The Motivator; website featuring educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.™program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; equipment distribution ranging from grab bars to wheelchairs; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; educational events and activities; MRI funding and insurance advocacy; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

About Acorda Therapeutics

Acorda Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on developing therapies that restore function and improve the lives of people with MS, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions.

Acorda markets AMPYRA(R) (dalfampridine) Extended Release Tablets, 10 mg, in the United States as a treatment to improve walking in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). This was demonstrated by an increase in walking speed. AMPYRA is marketed outside the United States as FAMPYRA(R) (prolonged-release fampridine tablets) by Biogen Idec under a licensing agreement from Acorda. AMPYRA and FAMPYRA are manufactured under license from Alkermes Pharma Ireland Limited.

The Company also markets ZANAFLEX CAPSULES(R) (tizanidine hydrochloride) and ZANAFLEX(R) (tizanidine hydrochloride) tablets, a short-acting drug for the management of spasticity. Acorda also receives sales royalties on tizanidine hydrochloride tablets, an authorized generic version of ZANAFLEX CAPSULES distributed by Watson Pharmaceutics, Inc. under its agreement with Acorda.

Acorda is developing an industry-leading pipeline of novel neurological therapies. The Company is studying AMPYRA to improve a range of functional impairments caused by MS, as well as its use in other neurological conditions, including cerebral palsy and chronic stroke. In addition, Acorda is developing clinical stage compounds AC105 for acute treatment of spinal cord injury and GGF2 for treatment of heart failure. GGF2 is also being investigated in preclinical studies as a treatment for neurological conditions such as stroke and spinal cord injury. Additional preclinical programs include rHIgM22, a remyelinating monoclonal antibody for the treatment of MS, and chondroitinase, an enzyme that encourages nerve plasticity in spinal cord injury.

About Multiple Sclerosis

The most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults, multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. This disorder damages or destroys the protective coating (known as myelin) surrounding the nerves, causing reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. Common symptoms include visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, and various levels of impaired mobility. MS is not contagious or fatal. For more information, visit


Lisa Karp

National Disability Institute

(202) 695-2180

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