Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Qualify For Disability
The SSA Blue Blook rheumatoid arthritis listing offers a helpful outline as to how the Social Security Administration makes decisions on rheumatoid arthritis claims.
Section 14.00 for Immune System Disorders in SSAs blue book of listings contains sub-section 14.09 for Inflammatory Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis falls under this section.
The general categorization for all inflammatory arthritis conditions reads as follow:
General. The spectrum of inflammatory arthritis includes a vast array of disorders that differ in cause, course, and outcome. Clinically, inflammation of major joints in an upper or lower extremity may be the dominant manifestation causing difficulties with walking or fine and gross movements there may be joint pain, swelling, and tenderness.
The arthritis may affect other joints or cause less limitation in walking or fine and gross movements. However, in combination with extra-articular features, including constitutional symptoms or signs , inflammatory arthritis may result in an extreme limitation.
Many People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are Able To Work For Years Following Diagnosis
You must show that the disease has progressed to the point that you are no longer able to work. In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits you should be prepared to provide detailed medical records and show how your RA has worsened over time. The Social Security Administration relies on the latest edition of the Primer on Rheumatoid Arthritis, published by the Arthritis Foundation, to evaluate rheumatoid arthritis claims.
Work With A Disability Lawyer Or Advocate
Because the rules and regulations for applying for Social Security disability benefits have become more and more complex over the years, it makes sense to have an attorney or experienced advocate assist you with your application and throughout the process, Dr. Smith says.
Local attorneys and advocates also usually know the judges and adjudicators in the system, which can often improve your chances of having your claim accepted, he explains.
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Chair Selection Is Important
It can be extremely difficult to get in different types of seats, depending on their height, width, and design, because of pain or stiffness. Luckily, I was a chemistry teacher, so I had lab stools, which were much easier for me, Dishner says. But outside school, I would find myself scanning a room to find the right chair.
How To Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits With Arthritis
More than 40 million adults in the US suffer from debilitating arthritis. If youre one of them you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits to help cover living expenses when you cannot work because of your arthritis. The only requirement that you need to meet in order to file a Social Security disability claim is that you need to expect to be unable to work for at least 12 months. If your arthritis makes it difficult for you to perform tasks like holding a pen, gripping a phone, sit for long periods of time or stand comfortably you can get Social Security disability benefits so that you can pay your rent or mortgage and other living expenses.
The Disability Evaluation Process
Evaluation criteria based on symptoms are slightly different for the various types of arthritis. For example, persistent swelling is a symptom that characterizes inflammatory types of arthritis but not osteoarthritis. The sequence of five steps that determine eligibility for SSD is the same, though. Whether you qualify depends on how you answer the following questions.
Are you still working? Does your condition prevent you from performing basic work activity at the level which the Social Security Administration defines as a substantial gainful activity?
Is your condition severe? Is your condition expected to last for 12 continuous months or more?
Is your condition on the List of Impairments? Is your condition among the more than 150 categories of medical conditions that Social Security considers to be severe enough to prevent a person from working?
Can you do any work you have done in the past? Do you have the ability to perform past work despite your current impairment?
Can you do any other type of work? Considering your medical condition, age, education, and past work experience, do you have skills that could be used to do other work?
Give Yourself More Time To Get Things Done
Jennifer says that shes been able to keep up with most of the activities she enjoys by allowing herself more time to do them. For example, she loved going to amusement parks before the pandemic but would become extremely fatigued after walking around all day. Instead of cutting out this big part of her life, she consciously decided to just do things more slowly. Instead of racing through the park to get through all of her favorite rides, Julie decided to set aside more time for her amusement park days so she didnt feel rushed. This allowed her to take breaks in between rides and go at her own pace. She also builds in extra time to get ready before leaving the house. I hate to be late, but it takes me longer to get ready now. So I know I have to start getting ready earlier than I used to.
Additionally, Jennifer says its helpful to communicate your needs with others. I warned the people I go out with and told them its going to take longer for us to go places and do things because of this, Jennifer says. I dont expect to be treated differently in general, but just ask that they give me some extra time.
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Increasing Your Chances Of Being Approved
Even if you have severe osteoarthritis that causes difficulty walking or using your hands, Social Security will still probably deny your initial application. Social Security only awards about 38% of applications at the initial level. But here are some tips to improve your chances of getting approved:
How Does The Social Security Administration Decide If I Qualify For Disability Benefits Due To Joint Problems
If you have joint pain or damage from any cause including arthritis, Social Security disability benefits may be available. To determine whether you are disabled by your joint condition, the Social Security Administration first considers whether your joint problems are severe enough to meet or equal a listing at Step 3 of the Sequential Evaluation Process. See Winning Social Security Disability Benefits for Joint Pain and Joint Damage by Meeting a Listing. If you meet or equal a listing because of joint problems, you are considered disabled. If your arthritis or other joint condition is not severe enough to equal or meet a listing, Social Security Administration must assess your residual functional capacity , to determine whether you qualify for benefits at Step 4 and Step 5 of theSequential Evaluation Process. See Residual Functional Capacity Assessment for Joint Pain and Joint Damage.
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How Severe Does Arthritis Need To Be To Qualify For Ssdi/ssi
Inflammatory arthritis is included in the Listing of Impairments maintained by the Social Security Administration . This list includes all physical and mental conditions that qualify for Social Security.
For arthritis, the SSA specifically mentions four different qualifying factors:
- Persistent major joint swelling or deformity
- Joint and organ system inflammation or deformity
- Inflammation or deformity of the spine and/or surrounding organs
- Repeated occurrences of inflammatory arthritis that limit your daily life and functioning
Those requirements are meant to automatically qualify a person for SSDI or SSI, but any person with arthritis may be eligible if his or her condition is so severe that:
- He/she cannot perform the work he/she once did
- He/she cannot learn a new trade or perform any other work
- The condition is expected to last at least 12 months
Changing Your Diet Wont Cure Psoriatic Arthritis
There is no known cure for psoriatic arthritis, and making dietary changes like going paleo or gluten free isnt a remedy. The good news, however, is that a healthy diet with plenty of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables thats low in fats and sugars can help keep psoriatic arthritis symptoms under control. Also try to steer clear of dairy and caffeine, which may aggravate psoriatic arthritis symptoms, says Dr. Markenson.
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Receiving Disability Benefits For Arthritis
Many people believe arthritis only affects the elderly. While arthritis in some of its forms is more prevalent in the elderly, there are many types of arthritis, and in some cases, neither the young nor the elderly are spared. Arthritis can make it extremely difficult to work or to complete your day-to-day tasks. Your chances of obtaining disability benefits for your arthritis increase significantly when you have an experienced disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group to assist you.
The Social Security disability attorneys from Carmichael Law Group have compassion for your situation and believe we can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. We know you are unable to work and make a living, yet the Social Security Administration may be denying your application for disability benefits. We are highly skilled and experienced in every single aspect of Social Security disability. No matter what stage of the process you are atthe initial application or a subsequent appeal following a denial of your applicationCarmichael Law Group can help.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disabilityonly total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
When Can Osteoarthritis Qualify You For Disability
Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints for many people as they get older it’s sometimes called degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Few people qualify for disability for arthritic pain and stiffness alone, but as arthritis symptoms continue to grow worse, the symptoms can limit walking, requiring knee or hip replacements, or using your hands and wrists. Arthritis in the neck can make it difficult to work at a computer, and arthritis in the lumbar spine can make it impossible to work at a job that requires lifting, carrying, crouching, bending, or stooping.
if you have severe enough trouble with walking or using your fingers because of your arthritis, you may not be able to perform sit-down work or jobs that require a lot of standingthat rules most jobs out.
Since osteoarthritis can be found in multiple joints, causing different limitations, Social Security evaluates the various joint problems in several different ways. First, Social Security has several “impairment listings” under which you may be evaluated: two listings for spine problems and two for major joint problems. If you meet the requirements of any one of these impairment listings, you will automatically be approved for benefits.
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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.
In One Study 35 Percent Of People With Ra Had Stopped Working 10 Years After Their Diagnosis
Its probably not something you want to think about, but if you have rheumatoid arthritis or another form of disabling arthritis, there may come a time when you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits. And that day might come sooner than you think: In one study, 35 percent of people with RA had stopped working 10 years after their diagnosis.
The decision to stop working can be one of the most difficult and emotionally charged ones youll ever make, says David Wayne Smith, D.ED., DABPS, FACFEI, director of the Disability Assessment Research Clinic at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Arthritis Center and a past president of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals. But if you continue to work when you shouldnt, you may be placing yourself at physical and emotional risk.
The process of attaining disability benefits can be challenging. The Social Security Administration has strict standards you have to meet to qualify, and you and your doctor are expected to provide a lot of information to prove you can no longer work.
We asked experts who know the system inside and out to answer common questions people with RA have about applying for Social Security disability benefits and how to improve the odds that a disability claim will be approved.
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About Joint Pain And Joint Damage
Impairments Causing Joint Pain or Joint Damage
Joint pain and loss of joint mobility may be caused by a number of disorders including:
- Neuropathic arthropathy
In all joints, osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis seen by the Social Security Administration. Osteoarthritis is also known as hypertrophic arthritis or degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis is not a systemic disease. It doesnt affect the entire body its effects are confined to the involved joints. Osteoarthritis is slowly progressive and starts with damage to the cartilage on opposing ends of bone inside the joint space . Any joint in the body can be involved. Heavy impact activity on joints predisposes to the development of osteoarthritis , and osteoarthritis is associated with advancing age. Trauma to a joint, such as a fracture into a joint space, is frequently followed by development of osteoarthritis.
Figure 1: Osteoarthritis joint abnormalities.
As joint cartilage begins to soften and thin, unusual stresses are also put on the underlying joint bone. The body responds to cartilage and bone damage by trying to grow new bone. This process can lead to osteophytes around joints or in the spine, as well as narrowing of whatever joint space is involved.
Symmetry is a characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis, and means that the same joints are generally involved on both sides of the body at the same time, such as arthritis in both the right and left thumbs.
Improving Your Chances For Obtaining Benefits
Its particularly important to see a psychologist or psychiatrist who can document the progression of your illness, because this can sometimes be the only official record of your PTSD. If you live with or frequently see family members or friends, ask them to document your behavior over time as well. Since severity is the key to determining whether or not your PTSD disorder qualifies you for benefits, tracking the frequency and nature of your symptoms can help your case.
- Keep a detailed journal, including a calendar of notes about how you feel each day
- Record any unusual activities you could not do on any given day
- Keep a detailed history of your current and past medications, as well as any side effects that you experience
- See a health care professional regularly and take the medication that he/she gives you so that he/she can support your application for benefits
- Ask your doctor or other health care professional to track the course of your symptoms and to keep a record of any evidence of fatigue, irritability, forgetfulness, unusual behavior, or other hard-to-document symptoms
- Keep records of how your illness affected you on the job.
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Does Arthritis Qualify For Disability Benefits
Generally, there are two main forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the result of wear and tear on the ligaments in your joints over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the tissue in the joints.
Whether your arthritis is a disability depends on whether it prevents you from working and the degree to which it limits your ability to conduct daily activities, such as
- Walking for an extended period of time
- Standing or sitting
- Fusing of joints
- Destruction of the bone
In any event, your claim must be supported by medical evidence that shows recurrent stiffness, joint pain, and loss of joint motion that either makes it difficult to walk without assistive devices or prevents you from using your hands effectively. If your arthritis has caused a spinal disorder or major joint dysfunction, it takes a skilled disability attorney to get you the disability benefits you need and deserve.
Getting Disability Benefits For Neck Pain Or Cervicalgia
In order to qualify for Social Security disability insurance or SSI benefits for neck pain or neck problems, applicants must either meet the requirements of one of Social Security’s official disability listings or prove that they don’t have the capacity to return to work because of their neck pain or doctors’ restrictions.
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When An Autoimmune Disease Occurs The Bodys Immune System Mistakes Its Own Tissue For A Foreign Substance Such As A Virus Or Bacteria
The body then develops antibodies to target and destroy these invaders. When synovial tissue, the lining in joints that provides lubrication, is attacked, chronic swelling and pain results. Inflammation thickens synovial fluid which destroys cartilage and bone within the joint tendons which hold the joint together then weaken and stretch. Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect any organ in the body, including the heart and lungs. RA affects smaller joints first, such as fingers, hands and feet and then spreads to knees, ankles, hips and shoulders. Over time, the erosion of bone can cause deformity and permanent disability.
Why Should You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
Why should I apply for Social Security disability benefits if my employer or insurance company is already paying benefits?
Those who do not know the answer to that question are shortchanging themselves. And so are employers who do not realize the lack of Social Security qualification is costing them a larger share of their employees disability benefits than necessary.
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