How Can I Qualify for Social Security Disability for Arthritis?

severe pain in arthritic kneeArthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition to live with. Many people who suffer from this condition are unable to perform their jobs and function on a day-to-day basis due to the pain and limited mobility that arthritis can cause. If your arthritis is severe enough that it prevents you from being able to work, you may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Below, we discuss the criteria used to determine whether an individual is considered disabled and eligible for monthly SSDI payments. A Social Security Disability attorney in Green Bay is ready to offer assistance filing a disability claim or proceeding with an appeal if you were denied benefits.

An initial consultation is 100 percent free and confidential. There is no risk in reaching out to our firm and no obligation to have us represent you. We do not get paid unless we help you obtain benefits.

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Social Security Disability for Arthritis

To qualify for SSDI benefits for arthritis, you must meet the basic disability requirements set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA). An arthritis diagnosis does not automatically qualify for disability.

You must have a condition that prevents you from doing any work and is expected to last for at least a year from the time of onset. Medical documentation is required to support that you meet a listing in the SSA’s Blue Book. You will also need to meet certain financial requirements to be eligible for benefits.

Determining If You Can Work

The SSA will look at if you are currently working. If the level of work done is substantial (meaning you earn more than the allowable monthly amount for that year), you will not qualify for SSDI benefits.

SSDI also requires having enough work credits. These credits are earned from working and paying Social Security taxes. If you have worked five out of the last ten years, you may have enough work credits. Based on your age, there are a number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Residual Functional Capacity

The SSA will use what is known as a residual functional capacity form to assess whether your arthritis is severe enough to prevent you from carrying out the daily activities required for work. For instance, they will review your ability to sit or stand for a long period of time, kneel or walk, and lift or grasp items.

Based on the activities you can and cannot do as a result of your arthritis, you may be deemed capable of performing sedentary, light, medium or heavy work. This assessment along with your medical records could help show that you qualify for SSDI benefits.

Meeting the Medical Criteria

The medical criteria for arthritis in the SSA Blue Book is under Section 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis:

  • Persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more major peripheral joints (i.e. hip, knee or ankle) that prevents you from moving effectively or one or more peripheral joints in each upper extremity that prevents you from effectively performing fine and gross movements; or
  • Inflammation or deformity in one or more major joints involving two or more body systems or organs with a moderate level of severity and at least two constitutional symptoms or signs (i.e. fatigue or fever); or
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (An inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and major joints); or
  • Repeated instances of inflammatory arthritis with at least two constitutional symptoms or signs and limitations of daily activities, maintaining social functioning or completing tasks on time.

Section 14.09 can be used to evaluate many different forms of arthritis, including but not limited to rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, osteoarthritis as well as spinal arthritis.

Examining Past Work

If observable symptoms of your arthritis are not enough to medically qualify you for SSDI benefits, the SSA will look at whether you are reasonably expected to perform any work you have done in the past.

If being diagnosed with arthritis has caused a significant change in your ability to do the work you previously performed, you may be eligible for disability benefits.

Ability to Do Other Work

If the SSA thinks that you can be trained to do some other type of work, you will likely be denied SSDI. Your age, education level, previous work experience and physical and mental health will be considered.

Medical Evidence to Support Your Claim

The medical evidence provided is vital to the outcome of your disability claim. Each document is an opportunity to help show the SSA the extent of your arthritis and how it affects your life.

Examples of supportive medical evidence include:

  • Your diagnosis
  • Blood or lab test results
  • X-rays, CT scans and other imaging
  • Doctor’s notes about your condition
  • Your treatment plan
  • Report of how the treatment is working
  • Medications prescribed
  • Any side effects from medications

An attorney at our firm is ready to help you gather and submit this medical evidence in a timely manner.

Get Help Qualifying for Disability Benefits

Sigman Janssen is here to guide you through the claims process and protect your interests. If your initial claim is denied, we are also here to handle your appeal. Our firm has helped advocate on behalf of many claimants over the years, fighting for the disability benefits they need.

The consultation we offer is free without any risk or obligation involved. There are no upfront fees and we only receive payment for our services if we help you obtain SSDI benefits.

Need legal help? Call (877) 888-5201