Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Can You Get Disability For Arthritis In Hands

Va Disability Ratings For Arthritis

Can I get Disability Benefits if I Suffer from Arthritis?

Under the schedule of ratings in the VA regulations, arthritis may be rated under degenerative arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Several rating criteria affect the total rating decision. However, both are still rated under the musculoskeletal system conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, as an active condition, may receive a 100% VA disability rating if you experience constitutional manifestations associated with active joint involvement and is totally incapacitating. The rating schedule then steps down to 60% disability rating which could still qualify a veteran to 100% disability compensation through total disability based on individual unemployability. Next possible rating for arthritis is 40%, followed by a 20% rating, which involves one or two exacerbations annually with a well-established diagnosis. Rheumatoid arthritis, in terms of chronic residuals, will be rated under the appropriate diagnostic code for the group of minor joints involved, major joints, etc. But, rheumatoid arthritis will only be rated either as an active condition or for its chronic residuals. The VA diagnostic code for rheumatoid arthritis is 5002.

Temporary 100% Ratings For VA Disability Claims

If you need help with a service-connected claim for arthritis, feel free to give us a call for a free case evaluation!

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Other Ways Your Arthritis Can Qualify As A Disability

If you do not qualify for benefits from the impairment listings for back problems, you may be eligible under a broader classification of a major dysfunction of a joint. To succeed with this category, you must have an obvious joint distortion. Such a distortion would be visible by using medical imaging techniques, such as an MRI. Examples of such impairments are the joint being fused or a compression of the space in a joint has occurred. Coupled with this would be a history of the loss of a range of motion, along with stiffness and pain in the joint.

A further requirement is the dysfunction must be occurring on both arms. It must exist in at least one hand, a wrist, an elbow, or a shoulder in each arm. Because of this stringent requirement, you must have a great difficulty in performing daily tasks such as preparing meals, performing daily hygiene, or completing simple house cleaning jobs without another persons assistance.

A second option would be if your dysfunction existed in an ankle, a knee, or a hip causing much difficulty in walking. Illustrations would be if you were unable to climb a set of stairs at a reasonable speed even using a handrail if you were required to use a walker, two canes, or two crutches or needed another persons help in the workplace, around the home, , or in activities such as shopping for groceries.

Procedures To Follow In Order To Qualify

The SSA conducts the following procedure to assess whether an individual qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits due to arthritis:

Financial Prerequisites

The SSA considers first whether you are currently employed. If you are currently employed , you will be prohibited from receiving Social Security Disability benefits based on your established ability to work.

To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance , one must have a sufficient number of employment credits. These are acquired by employment and the payment of Social Security taxes. Generally, if youve worked five out of the last ten years, youll have sufficient work credits. Depending on your age, you must have a certain number of credits to qualify for SSDI.

Supplemental Security Income may be available if you do not have sufficient work credits but have limited income and assets. SSI is only available to people with assets less than $2,000 . Since SSI is based on household income, the Social Security Administration will consider the income of your spouse when determining your financial eligibility.

Medical Prerequisites

The SSA decides if your arthritis is acute enough to prevent you from undertaking routine work-related physical tasks. Among these activities are the following:

  • Sitting or standing
  • Kneeling or walking
  • Lifting heavy objects and difficulty using fine motor skills

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Applying For Social Security Disability Due To Rheumatoid Arthritis

You can apply for Social Security disability in person at your localSSA office, by calling the SSA at 800-772-1213, or, for SSDI, online at www.ssa.gov. To complete the disability application,you will need detailed information, including the contact informationand dates of treatment for all of your medical providers, the dates ofany medical tests, and the names, addresses, and dates of employment forall of of your previous employers.

Once your application is complete, your file will be sent to yourstateâs Disability Determination Services office. Here, a claimsexaminer will request and review your medical records and may call youfor an interview or send you additional paperwork to complete. When theclaims examiner feels that there is sufficient evidence to make adecision, you will be notified via mail. This normally takes 3-4 months, but could take longer. If your claim for disability is denied, you willbe able to file an appeal.

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Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And Arthritis In My Hands Qualify For Disability

Wraparound Arthritis Wrist Support Brace

I suffer from Carpal Tunnel and arthritis in both hands. I had surgery on the right Carpal Tunnel 20 years ago. Until the arthritis reared its ugly head a few years ago I managed ok. I recently broke the left wrist. Since then, the arthritis has come on with a vengeancein the left hand. Now my Orthopaedic Dr. is ordering a test for Carpal Tunnel on that hand too. I get spasms in the left hand and the right hand totally and painfully locks up. Alone I don’t think this would qualify for disability but together? I would like an outsiders opinion.Thank Youworking or notterms of disabling conditions

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Blue Book To Assess Impairments

SSA has prepared a list of impairments and gathered them in the Blue Book, for their disability examiners as a reference guide. This detailed list provides quick guidance for a review by the examiner to assess if your particular set of limitations is so severe that your work history, age, and education do not have to be considered in a disability determination. Each diagnosis listed must be accompanied by certain findings for the diagnosis to meet the listing and allow approval based on the listing.

SSA recognizes inflammatory arthritis could qualify as a disabling disease if it is accompanied by the following findings.

  • Deformity or swelling of an ankle, knee, or hip joint with:
  • At least two of the following symptoms: fever, loss of weight, fatigue, or a general feeling of discomfort
  • At least two organs or systems affected with one being moderately involved
  • Continuing or recurring bouts of inflammatory arthritis with a minimum of two systems impacted along with daily living tasks, cognitive functioning, or social activities being negatively affected
  • Being unable to walk because of a deformity or inflammation of a weight bearing joint
  • Continuing inflammation of one or more major arm joints in both arms is severe enough to prevent normal daily activities, such as shopping, personal hygiene, feeding oneself, or driving
  • Spondyloarthropathies or Ankylosing Spondylitis .

    How Will You Afford The Attorney Fee In Your Disability Case

    We will use our skills to help you through the disability process. It is our goal to win your case. But, it also our goal to make applying for disability benefits easier for you. We offer a free consultation. If you call, then there is no obligation to become a client. You can simply ask questions. We will answer. Even if we dont accept representation in your case, we will still try to help you.

    It also doesnt cost you any money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This is a contingency fee. It means if we win, you pay us out of your back benefits. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee. How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. Also, there is a fee cap set at $6000 by the SSA. You never pay more than the fee cap at the hearing stage of your case. And, 25% of your back benefit is usually less than the $6000 cap. You will pay the lesser amount.

    If there are costs in your case, then you pay for those costs. But the costs are usually less than $100. Typically, if a doctor charges for copies of your medical records, then that is your bill to pay. We also have a small office fee that covers expenses we incur for your case. However, that fee is also less than $100. You will owe the costs in your case whether we win or lose your case. However, your attorney fees come from your back benefit. You only pay an attorney fee if we win your case. You owe no attorney fee if we do not win benefits for you.

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    Because The Symptoms Of Ra Mimic Other Diseases It Is Difficult To Diagnose In Its Early Stages

    Doctors will look for swelling, redness, and warmth around joints. Blood tests can reveal inflammatory processes and the presence of antibodies in the body. Imaging tests such as x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasounds can help determine the severity and progression of the disease. Treatment involves a variety of medications to control pain and inflammation, as well as slow the progression of RA and prevent permanent damage. Physical therapy can keep joints flexible and provide alternate ways to perform tasks. If medications fail to prevent or slow joint damage, surgery may be recommended.

    Hand Limitations Often Seen From Applicants

    Arthritis Pain May Qualify for VA Disability Benefits

    Many applicants have conditions that impact their ability to work. They are unable to sit, stand or walk for an average eight-hour work day. Other applicants may have impairments that impact certain areas of functioning, such as the limited use of their hands.

    Even if you have no difficulty sitting or standing for a full work day, the inability to use your hands to grab or pick up items and hold or carry objects can significantly limit the types of jobs you can perform.

    Diseases that can cause the loss of hand function include arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and neuropathy, among others. Cervical disc disease does not directly cause hand limitations, but it can cause radiculopathy, a condition which presses against the nerves in the arms and hands. This can result in weakness and loss of sensation in the hands.

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    Different Areas Where You Can Get Arthritis

    Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints and surrounding tissues. Since there are joints all over the body, its possible to get arthritis in many locations even though its most common in the hands, knees and back.

    Over time, the cartilage in joints will break down, which leads to inflammation and arthritis. Thats why the condition is so common in hands and knees since those are two areas that are used all the time.

    Arthritis can also be caused by injury, such as an old sports injury or a repetitive motion injury. The latter is one of the reasons arthritis can make doing work so difficult. Imagine working in a factory that requires you to pull levers or assemble parts.

    Arthritis in the hands would make this work difficult, and so some people find themselves unable to perform their jobs and must seek out assistance.

    You can file a claim for Social Security disability benefits with arthritis. You will need to demonstrate that your condition makes you unable to perform the requirements of your job, which is why collecting medical evidence is the most important part of your application.

    Problems When Applying For Disability Benefits

    If you choose to apply for disability benefits by yourself, there are several problems you will face such as:

    • Backlogs of unprocessed disability claims.
    • An average five-month wait after filing a claim before receiving an answer on the initial claim, and almost a year of additional delays if the claim is appealed.
    • Backlogs of disability cases awaiting review, with hundreds of thousands of cases coming up for review each year.

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    Disabling Symptoms Of Arthritis

    The specific symptoms of your arthritis will depend on what type you have and the areas affected. Disabling symptoms may include:

    • Joint pain and stiffness
    • Weakness in hand grip, lack of finger dexterity
    • Pain while walking, squatting, bending, standing, etc.
    • Difficulty moving after periods of rest

    Your insurance company will consider your arthritis a disability if your symptoms are bad enough that you cannot perform your job duties. Before your claim is approved, however, your insurance company will require evidence of your diagnosis and your ongoing symptoms.

    Listing 118 Abnormality Of A Major Joint

    Wraparound Arthritis Wrist Support Brace

    If your arthritis has caused major dysfunction of any of your joints, you may be eligible for disability under Listing 1.18. To qualify under Listing 1.18, you must prove that your arthritis has caused some type of abnormality or deformity in any joint in your upper extremities or lower extremities . The abnormality must cause all of the following:

    • chronic joint pain or stiffness
    • abnormal motion, instability, or immobility of the affected joint, and
    • an inability to use your hands for work because:
    • your arthritis makes you unable to use either hand for work-related tasks
    • you need a device that requires use of one hand, but you’re unable to use the other hand for work-related tasks, or
    • you need an assistive device for walking that requires both hands .

    To qualify under this listing, you must show evidence of your joint abnormality or deformity through either an x-ray or MRI or physical exam notes.

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    You Could Be Entitled To $3345 Per Month Get A Free Disability Evaluation

    If you are considering applying for Social Security benefits, you should first consult with your primary care doctor. Not only can they provide copies of the paperwork necessary to apply, but their understanding of your medical history can help inform your decision.

    You should also strongly consider speaking with a Social Security disability attorney. Their legal knowledge can help present your case as favorably as possible when applying for Social Security benefits, which is especially useful when your chances of qualifying are unsure. It is common for applications to be denied benefits, although you can appeal any such decision. Be sure to look out for the signs that you will be denied for disability.

    For more information, you can review the Blue Book and application requirements on the SSAs website.

    Does Osteoarthritis Show Up In Blood Work

    There is no blood test for the diagnosis of osteoarthritis. Blood tests are performed to exclude diseases that can cause secondary osteoarthritis, as well as to exclude other arthritis conditions that can mimic osteoarthritis. X-rays of the affected joints are the main way osteoarthritis is identified…. see details

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    Doctors Dont Know What Triggers The Process But Believe Several Risk Factors Are Involved:

    • Gender. Women are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, leading researchers to believe that hormones may play a role in preventing or triggering the disease.
    • Age. RA can occur at any age, but usually begins in middle age.
    • Family history. An individual who has a family member with RA has an increased risk of developing the disease.
    • Smoking. Smoking is also associated with increased severity of RA.
    • Environment. Exposure to asbestos or silica carries increased risk.

    Loop Your Doctor Into The Application Process Early

    9 Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hands, by Dr. Andrea Furlan

    Crucial for applying for any disability program is filling out all the paperwork completely. Talk to your diagnosing physician early before you begin the application process as well as any other physicians who can support the application, said Mirean Coleman, a licensed independent clinical social worker and clinical manager for the National Association of Social Workers based in Washington, DC.

    The patient needs to initiate an application first with the Social Security office, and on the application, they would include a list of physicians who are involved in the patients care, Coleman says. The Social Security office would forward papers directly to the physician. Its important for the patient not only to keep things timely but to inform the physician that they intend to apply for disability. That way, the physician can look out for the incoming information and complete the application by the return-by date.

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    F How Do We Document And Evaluate Hiv Infection

    Any individual with HIV infection, including one with a diagnosis of acquired immune deficiency syndrome , may be found disabled under 14.11 if his or her impairment meets the criteria in that listing or is medically equivalent to the criteria in that listing.

    1. Documentation of HIV infection.

    a. Definitive documentation of HIV infection. We may document a diagnosis of HIV infection by positive findings on one or more of the following definitive laboratory tests:

    HIV antibody screening test , confirmed by a supplemental HIV antibody test such as the Western blot , an immunofluorescence assay, or an HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody differentiation immunoassay.

    HIV nucleic acid detection test .

    HIV p24 antigen test.

    Isolation of HIV in viral culture.

    Other tests that are highly specific for detection of HIV and that are consistent with the prevailing state of medical knowledge.

    b. We will make every reasonable effort to obtain the results of your laboratory testing. Pursuant to §§ 404.1519f and 416.919f, we will purchase examinations or tests necessary to make a determination in your claim if no other acceptable documentation exists.

    c. Other acceptable documentation of HIV infection. We may also document HIV infection without definitive laboratory evidence.

    2. Documentation of the manifestations of HIV infection.

    c. Other acceptable documentation of manifestations of HIV infection. We may also document manifestations of HIV infection without definitive laboratory evidence.

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