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How Severe Does Your Arthritis Need to Be to Qualify for SSD in Alabama?

arthritis SSD

Montgomery is full of hard-working Americans who take pride in doing great work and serving their communities. One of those workers is Michael. Once a dedicated warehouse manager, Michael’s life took a dramatic turn at age 54 when arthritis began to erode not just his joints, but also his ability to lead a normal life.

Waking up each morning to a chorus of aches and pains, Michael found even the simplest tasks excruciating. The persistent pain and stiffness in his hands and knees transformed his daily routine into a challenging ordeal, eventually making it impossible for him to continue working.

Michael’s story is by no means unique. For many Alabamians, severe arthritis is not just a health issue; it is a condition that eventually becomes a barrier to employment and a normal life. This is where Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be a lifesaver.

SSD benefits are designed to provide financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability, including severe cases of arthritis. Understanding the eligibility criteria and the application process for SSD benefits is crucial for individuals whose lives and work capabilities have been significantly impacted by this condition.


Understanding Arthritis and Its Impact

Arthritis encompasses over 100 medical conditions that cause painful inflammation and stiffness in the joints. The most common arthritis forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis. These conditions can arise from repetitive strain or injuries to the joints, autoimmune dysfunctions, or age-related wear and tear.

While arthritis is extremely common, affecting over 300,000 Alabama adults, its severity varies widely. Mild arthritis creates occasional stiffness and achiness, usually controlled with over-the-counter medication. However, in advanced stages, arthritis can ruthlessly attack multiple joints, visibly deforming them and severely restricting mobility and flexibility.

For Montgomery area workers with advanced arthritis, the impact on daily functioning and work capacity can be devastating. Simple tasks like getting dressed, gripping objects, standing for extended periods, lifting items, typing on a keyboard, or driving a car can become excruciating. The pain and impaired mobility make it impossible for sufferers to adequately perform essential job duties, turning workdays into ordeals.

In addition to interfering with occupational capacities, severe arthritis greatly diminishes the general quality of daily living as well. Sufferers struggle to complete personal care, household duties, social activities, and recreation they previously enjoyed.


Eligibility Criteria for SSD in Montgomery, AL

To be eligible for SSDI assistance due to arthritis, Montgomery area applicants must meet the program’s qualification guidelines. General requirements dictate that the applicant:

  • Has earned sufficient work credits through past employment (or eligible for credits from a spouse).
  • Suffers from a condition that is expected to last over 12 months or result in death.
  • Maintains a condition that prohibits engagement in substantial gainful work activity.

In terms of proving a disabling arthritic condition specifically, examiners assess:

  • Severity of inflammation and joint destruction through imaging tests.
  • Loss of range of motion, flexibility, and grip strength via physical exams.
  • Measure of disability through strength, motion, and dexterity tests.
  • The extent to which arthritis interferes with the capacity to fulfill work duties.

Essentially, disability examiners determine if arthritis significantly erodes the physical functioning required for any substantial employment earnings. Denial odds increase dramatically without definitive medical evidence of enduring disability interfering with fundamental work skills.


Documenting Your Arthritis for Montgomery, AL SSD Applications 

Given the stringent medical qualifications for SSDI assistance, providing irrefutable documentation of functionally impairing arthritis constitutes the crux of a successful claim. When submitting your application, include detailed medical records from all of your arthritis treatment history, focusing on evidence that proves ongoing severity.


Helpful documentation typically includes:

  • Imaging tests illustrating joint destruction (X-rays, CT scans, MRI reports).
  • Blood tests indicating inflammatory markers or autoimmune disorder.
  • Measurements of flexibility, range of motion, dexterity loss.
  • Specialist referrals and consultation notes.
  • Physical therapy evaluations.
  • Assistive devices prescriptions (canes, walkers, grab bars).
  • Medication lists showing intensive pain/inflammation control regimens.
  • Physician narratives explicitly confirming disability/inabilities.


Letters composed by your primary doctor and rheumatologist carry significant influence as they can best explain how arthritis impedes major facets of physical functionality required for any gainful employment.


The Application Process for SSD 

Applying for SSDI involves extensive medical history documentation, stringent analysis, and perseverant appeal if initially denied. Here are the general steps involved:


Gather Your Medical Records

  • Collect all relevant medical documentation, including doctor’s notes, treatment records, and imaging results.
  • Ensure these records are up-to-date and accurately reflect the current state of your condition.


Complete the SSD Application

  • The application can be completed online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office.
  • Be thorough and precise in filling out the application, ensuring all information is accurate.


Submit the Application

  • Double-check your application for completeness and accuracy before submission.
  • Submit your application along with all required documentation.


Attend the Required Medical Exams

  • The Social Security Administration may require you to undergo additional medical exams or tests.
  • Attend all appointments and cooperate fully to ensure a thorough evaluation.


Respond Promptly to Any Additional Requests

  • The SSA may request additional information or clarification.
  • Respond promptly and provide any requested documentation as quickly as possible.


Prepare for the Decision

  • It can take several months to receive a decision on your application.
  • Use this time to gather additional evidence or prepare for the possibility of an appeal.


Appeal if Necessary

  • If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.
  • Consider consulting with a lawyer specializing in SSD claims to improve your chances of a successful appeal.

By following these steps and tips, you can navigate the SSD application process more effectively, increasing your chances of receiving the benefits you need to manage your arthritis. Remember, thorough preparation and detailed documentation are key to a successful application.


Work with an Experienced Montgomery, AL SSD Lawyer

Navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability (SSD) applications can be daunting, especially when dealing with the physical and emotional challenges of arthritis. In addition, over 60% of initial SSDI claims are initially denied, which jeopardizes access to imperative financial support and medical coverage. However, involving a disability attorney early in the application process can vastly improve your chances of success.

If you are in need of SSD benefits in Montgomery or anywhere in Alabama, the Dansby Law Firm is here to help. Call us today at 334-326-6449 or send us a message online for a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!

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