Can Individuals with Arthritis Qualify for SSD?
Arthritis is a debilitating condition that can negatively impact every part of your life, impeding your ability to work, take care of your home, and enjoy life. What happens if your arthritis gets so bad that you are no longer able to work at all? Social Security disability benefits may be an option for you if you have enough work credits and you are able to prove the extent of your disability.
The process of getting the benefits that you deserve can be an uphill battle. With the right disability attorney by your side, you can make the most of your first application attempt and submit the strongest application possible. Call The Dansby Law Firm at 334-834-7001 to schedule a consultation now.
How the SSA Looks at Arthritis
The Social Security Listing of Impairments, also known as the Blue Book, includes information on diagnoses that qualify for benefits and the criteria you must meet to be approved for benefits. This isn’t the only way to qualify for benefits. You can also prove that your disability is enough to prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. However, the Blue Book listing is a good first step.
Some types of arthritis are listed under Section 14 of the Blue Book, which covers immune disorders. Rheumatoid arthritis and other types of inflammatory arthritis fall under this listing. To qualify for benefits immediately, you must have:
- Documented medical need for a walker, bilateral canes, or wheeled and seated mobility device or the inability to use one upper extremity to complete work-related activities
- Inflammation or deformity in one or more upper or lower extremities with involvement of two or more organ systems and two constitutional symptoms of inflammatory arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Repeated instances of inflammatory arthritis with limitations of activities of daily living, social functioning, or completing tasks in a timely manner—this limitation must be at a marked level
This is a fairly in-depth listing since there are four separate ways you can qualify. However, if you do not qualify under one of these headings, you may still be able to get disability benefits.
With a residual functioning capacity (RFC) assessment, you can demonstrate to the SSA that your arthritis is serious enough to keep you from working in your chosen field. This process involves assessing your disability, comparing the limitations it poses to what you do in your line of work and figuring out if there are other lines of work that may be available to you.
Proving Your Disability
Whether or not you qualify for SSD benefits under the Blue Book listings, be prepared to prove your disability extensively. You may have heard that the majority of disability applications are denied on the first try. This is true, but it isn’t because most applicants don’t qualify. Actually, it’s because many people seriously underestimate how much medical evidence the SSA looks for.
You don’t want to provide a brief overview of the timeline of your disability. You want to give the SSA every relevant piece of evidence you have, including diagnostic tests, follow-up tests that track the decline of your disability, attempted treatments, failed treatments, diagnostic notes from treating physicians, and treatment recommendations from your physicians.
This is one of the reasons it’s important to work with an Alabama SSD attorney. Unless you’ve gone through the SSD application process before, you simply don’t know what to expect from the SSA. With the help of a disability lawyer, you can look for weaknesses in your application, determine if you have enough medical evidence, and find ways to make your application stronger.
This saves you valuable time since you don’t have to go back and forth wondering if you are ready to submit or not—you can feel confident when you finally do hit that submit button. By presenting the strongest case you can from the very start, you can decrease your chances of a denial and pursue the benefits you deserve.
Start Your Disability Claim with The Dansby Law Firm
If you’re ready to start your SSD application for arthritis, it’s time to talk to The Dansby Law Firm. Give us a call at 334-834-7001 or contact us online to take the first step.