Loop Your Doctor Into The Application Process Early
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.
Consult With A Social Security Attorney
If the SSA determines that your arthritis precludes you from performing any kind of available work, they will approve your claim and you will begin receiving social Security Disability benefits. It is worth noting that most initial claims are denied.
If your claim is denied, you should consider consulting a Social Security Disability attorney regarding the best way to go about the appeals process.
Many Social Security Disability claims which are initially denied are later approved in the appeals process. While you are allowed to represent yourself at all stages of the process, you are much more likely to win your case if you are represented by an experienced Social Security disability lawyer.
Restoring Dignity And Respect To Your Life
Youre physically unable to perform the tasks you used to do in your job because your rheumatoid arthritis has gotten worse. Youre out of work, out of a regular incomeand scared.
Dont lose hope.
Social Security Disability benefits can provide monthly income and Medicare health coverage to get you through this difficult time. With its terrible pain, rheumatoid arthritis is the kind of debilitating condition that can qualify you for benefits.
Winning benefits, however, isnt easy. Its a complicated process of dealing with the government, gathering evidence and keeping up with deadlines.
With rheumatoid arthritis, you have to show specific symptoms to prove your claim.
If you dont know how to do that, dont worry. If you live in Gretna, New Orleans, Metairie, Marrero, Houma, or anywhere in the New Orleans area, disability advocate Gary Sells can do it for you.
Gary and his team are committed to bringing you the dignity, respect and financial relief you deserve. Social Security Disability is all we do.
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Listing 1409 Inflammatory Arthritis
If you don’t qualify for disability under any of the above listings, you may qualify under Listing 14.09, Inflammatory arthritis . To meet Listing 14.09, you must provide objective medical evidence that your arthritis has resulted in the following:
- Swelling or deformity of:
- your hip, knee or ankle joints that causes extreme interference with your ability to walk on your own, or
- your shoulder, elbow or wrist/hand that makes it difficult to take care of yourself and perform your day-to-day activities.
- Swelling or deformity of your hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, or ankle/footwith:
- associated disease in at least two of your organs or body systems, with one organ or body system affected more than minimally, and
- at least two of following: severe fatigue, malaise, weight loss, or fever.
- Ankylosing spondylitis with:
- Fixation of the lower or upper spine with extremely limited flexibility of 45
Va Disability Rating For Arthritis
Both degenerative and rheumatoid arthritis are rated under the musculoskeletal system conditions. Range of motion and pain levels are key factors to your disability rating. Physicians should be using a goniometer to get exact measurements for your joints range of motion. This is important because the VA looks first at range of motion for each joint, which determines your rating. Sometimes, you may have full motion, in which case the VA under the degenerative arthritis code.
There are multiple levels of rating that is on a percentage-based system. Rheumatoid arthritis levels of rating are under Diagnostic Code 5002 degenerative arthritis levels are under Diagnostic Code 5003. Percentages range from 10% to 100%. A rating for limited range of motion cannot be given in addition to either degenerative or rheumatoid arthritis. Your rating will affect your arthritis claim and the benefits you receive.
Rheumatoid arthritis disability rating can change throughout your lifespan because the intensity of the arthritis may worsen. Rheumatoid arthritis is also rated depending on the joints involved, yet can only be rated as either an active condition or for residual chronic conditions.
Under Diagnostic Code 5002, the VA rates your rheumatoid arthritis case based on the following:
In order to receive a rating of limited motion, the VA must confirm swelling, muscle spasms, or other evidence of pain through observation.
Other Arthritis Ratings
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Can I Get Ssdi Disability For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that affects millions of Americans
Will Social Security approve my disability claim based on rheumatoid arthritis?
How Does SSA Determine If My Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Disabling?
Step 1: Non-Medical CriteriaStep 2: Severe ImpairmentStep 3: Medical ListingsStep 4: Past WorkStep 5: Other Work
Wondering If You Qualify?
Find out if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits in just seconds with our free evaluation.
Are Glucosamine And Chondroitin Supplements Helpful For Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Hand
Supplements are not reviewed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration . They are not required to undergo the same rigorous clinical trial methods that medications must undergo in the U.S. Some clinical trials show benefits with pain relief however, there is no proof that these supplements slow the progression of osteoarthritis. If you plan to try these, always check with your healthcare provider before using supplements. These products may interfere with medications you currently take.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Dull or burning joint pain, morning stiffness, swollen joints in your hand are all symptoms of arthritis. Many types of arthritis could affect your hands. Many treatment options are available depending on your exact arthritis type. Medications can reduce joint pain and swelling. Researchers are still working on ways to slow the progression of osteoarthritis. See your healthcare provider if you think you have arthritis in your hands. They will perform a complete exam and offer you a complete treatment plan, which includes hand exercises, use of hot and cold packs, other lifestyle tips and traditional treatments including medications, braces/splints, steroid injections and surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/06/2021.
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Get The Help You Need Before You Apply
Currently, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis and, despite treatment, you may be suffering from a permanent condition that impacts your ability to work. If this has happened to you, then it is important to contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney to determine how you may be eligible for benefits. At Keefe Disability Law, we understand what you must show in order to maximize your chances at an approval. Contact us using the contact form on this page to learn more about how we can help with your application.
Accommodations And Medical Leave
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act , there are certain job protections people with RA might have.
Under the ADA, you may be able to ask for reasonable workplace accommodations that make it easier to do your job. These accommodations need to be essential for performing the job in the same manner as a person without a disability.
This may include things like an ergonomic keyboard or desk chair, a sit-stand desk, extra breaks to stretch, talk-to-type software for your computer, or a modified work schedule. Of course, accommodations must be reasonable and should not cause undue hardship to the employer.
Under FMLA, people with RA and other chronic illnesses can take up to three months of unpaid leave per year if they are unable to work due to their health. This leave doesnt have to been taken all at once and can be intermittent as needed for short periods.
For example, a person with rheumatoid arthritis may take intermittent leave for two or three days to manage a disease flare-up. Intermittent leave can also be used for medical appointments or appointments for treatments related to RA.
Your employers human relations department is the best position to explain how ADA accommodations work and your intermittent leave options under FMLA.
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Social Security Disability Benefits And Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability. How does a person suffering from arthritis qualify for Social Security disability benefits? According to Jim Allsup, the Social Security Administration uses a process called sequential evaluation to determine who will receive disability benefits. Mr. Allsup is president and CEO of Allsup Inc. Since 1984, Allsup claims his company has:
- Successfully helped over 300,000 people nationwide receive their entitled disability benefits.
- Achieved a 90% award rate.
Patients who have been helped by Allsup often suffer from rheumatic conditions and musculoskeletal diseases such as:
Other Disability Data Sources
Arthritis Conditions Health Effects Survey
In 20052006, CDCs Arthritis Program conducted the first national survey dedicated to arthritis, the Arthritis Conditions Health Effects Survey . ACHES is a national random-digit-dialed telephone survey of noninstitutionalized US adults aged 45 years or older, designed to generate a more comprehensive picture of the impact of arthritis or joint symptoms on peoples lives.
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If You Need A Hip Replacement
Some individuals with severe hip pain face the possibility of a total hip replacement. While this procedure is 95% effective for those who have surgery, a small number of people face long-term continuation or worsening of the problem.
Hip replacements are specifically listed in the Social Securitys medical guide, often referred to as the Blue Book, under Musculoskeletal Section 1.03. Those people who have had reconstructive surgery of the hip and are unable to ambulate for a year after the operation would be considered disabled under the SSAs definition of disability.
These individuals must be incapable of sustaining a reasonable walking pace over a sufficient distance to maintain their activities of daily living. For example, if a year after your hip replacement surgery you have difficulty getting to work without the use of a walker, two crutches, or help from another individual, you might be considered for financial assistance from the SSA. Further, if you have trouble going to the grocery store or the bank without significant support, you are a likely disability candidate.
If it is determined that you do not meet a Blue Book listing for your disability you might still qualify for assistance through a medical-vocational allowance. Using a residual functional capacity assessment, the SSA will determine if your limitations are so severe as to keep you from being able to perform a job.
How To Qualify For Benefits If You Do Not Meet The Requirements In The Listing Of Impairments
If you do not meet the specific requirements of an individual listing, then the SSA will evaluate your eligibility differently. Specifically, the agency will be looking at your residual functional capacity. In other words, how much activity and work you are still able to do despite your disability will be evaluated. If your functional limitations keep you from being able to work any job, then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
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Specific Requirements For Osteoarthritis
Generally, with regard to musculoskeletal conditions, Social Security states, âRegardless of the cause of a musculoskeletal impairment, functional loss for purposes of these listings is defined as the inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment.â
People with degenerative osteoarthritis qualify if they have significant limitations while using hands or arms, or while standing or walking. People with back or neck osteoarthritis must have persistent sensory, reflex, and motor loss as well.
For more information about qualifying for disability benefits for osteoarthritis, consult a support group for patients and see if they have any professional resources available to you or members whoâve successfully completed the disability process.
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A Guide To Disability Benefits And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints, but can also cause issues throughout the body, including the respiratory system, nerves, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and skin. It can even cause vision problems.
Because of this variability in symptoms and the conditions progression, it could require unexpected, extended periods away from work, or make it more problematic to look for employment.
Fortunately, disability insurance from the Social Security Administration can replace some of your income, as long as you can demonstrate that youre unable to perform any type of work on a consistent basis because of your condition.
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How Ra Affects Physical Function
Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation throughout the body, which may eventually limit the joints, cause persistent swelling, and severe pain. Sometimes, RA can be severe enough to limit the ability to stand, walk, pull, lift, carry, reach, and sit for long periods.
It may even make it harder to perform self-care activities like bathing, dressing, and grooming. It may also affect your mobilitythe ability to move about freely and easily. Functional impairment and disability in RA are major problems for people with the condition.
A populated-based group study reported in 2018 by the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases found the prevalence of patient-reported functional disability was 26% in people with RA in the initial study phase and 11% percent in people without the disease. The discrepancy between the two groups continued for almost 20 years of follow-up.
A newer study reported in 2019 in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings finds functional disability related to RA joint damage can occur one to two years before receiving a formal diagnosis. Studies like this one indicate how vital is early intervention in rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
It is important for healthcare providers to ask about and for people with RA to speak up about any difficulties they have with carrying out activities of daily living. The sooner your doctor has this information, the earlier intervention in the form of physical and occupational therapy and more aggressive medications can begin.
Qualifying For Disability Under The Listing For Joint Dysfunction
If you have osteoarthritis in your hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, wrists, or hands, you might meet the listing for having an abnormality of a major joint. In order to meet this listing, you must have an obvious deformity in a joint: medical imaging must show joint space narrowing, ankylosis , or the destruction of bone. You must also have a history of joint pain and stiffness and a loss of motion in the joint. In addition, you need medical documentation that:
- you need to use a walker, bilateral canes or crutches, or a wheelchair or scooter that requires both hands, OR
- you can’t use one hand due to arthritis, and you need the other to operate a one-handed wheelchair, cane, crutch, or other device, OR
- you can’t use either arm or hand to begin, sustain, and finish work.
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Standards Needed For Claim Approval
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration does not approve most initial claims for arthritis. To be approved, it is important to submit all the supporting evidence you have. During an initial assessment, the Disability Examiner will determine:
- Does your disease prevent you from working?
- Is your condition expected to last for at least one year from when it caused you to either stop working or reduce your work so that after payment of impairment-related work expenses , your gross wages or net self-employment is not at the level of substantial gainful activity ?
- Have you been getting treatment for at least 3 months? And if so, how are you responding to treatment?
- If you are currently working and earned at the SGA level, did you have impairment-related work expenses that dropped your earnings below that amount.
- Is the disease causing chronic pain and swelling and joint motion that makes it painful or restricted to a degree that based on your age, skills, previous jobs, mental capacity, and education are you incapable of working at a Heavy, Medium, Light, or Sedentary level?
- Are you incapable of performing work?
If all those questions show you have severe arthritis by Social Securitys standards and that you cannot work in any occupations that you could do if you didnt have medical limitation, you should be approved for benefits.
Consider Getting A Psychological Evaluation
Its not uncommon for people with severe arthritis to experience depression and anxiety, which can also limit their ability to work. If thats been true for you, including a psychological evaluation in your application is a must because it can be extremely helpful in obtaining benefits, Dr. Stein says.
While your doctor can report on your psychological symptoms, the information usually has more weight when a psychologist or psychiatrist presents it, he says.
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