Can You Qualify for Social Security Disability with Arthritis?

Osteoarthritis disability blue bookYes, you can qualify for social security disability with arthritis under particular circumstances. Arthritis is in the Social Security Administration Blue Book of diseases that qualify for disability assistance, but you must meet the work and medical requirements. Your arthritis must be severe enough to hinder you from working for one calendar year.

Many people believe that by having arthritis, they automatically qualify for benefits, but that is rarely the case. The Social Security Administration has an extensive application process, and you will need a Maryland Social Security disability claims lawyer to help you get the benefits you desperately and rightfully need.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease, of which there are about 100 different types. The Arthritis Foundation reports that more than 54 million adults and 300,000 children have some form of arthritis, and people of all ages, genders and ethnicities can get the disease. Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.

What are symptoms of arthritis?

The most common symptoms of arthritis include swollen, painful joints, stiffness and decreased range of motion. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and they can come and go, but eventually result in chronic pain that causes a person to limit their daily activities and damage joints. To meet the blue book standard, you must have the following persistent symptoms or ailments from your arthritis:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Persistent inflammation or deformity of weight-bearing or peripheral joints
  • Repeat manifestation of inflammatory arthritis with two constitutional symptoms like severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss

If you do not meet the SSD Blue Book criteria you can still obtain benefits, but the process will be more challenging since it requires additional assessment and documentation. When you do not meet the criteria you will be sent for x-rays and other evaluations. You must also experience limitations in daily living activities, maintaining social functions, and completing tasks on time. These and other nuances will be vital to your SSD claim.

How to document your arthritis for your SSDI claim

The right documentation can prove that you cannot perform your job duties and other tasks. Suppose you have had arthritis for the last three years and were receiving treatment for it. While arthritis affected you and you had treatment, it did not hinder your job. Unless there is documentation that arthritis hinders your ability to work, you do not have substantial evidence for a successful claim. There are many other requirements, and you must speak with a Maryland Social Security lawyer to ensure you meet all criteria and have all documentation in order.

What is Social Security’s “Blue Book” of impairments?

In the Social Security Administration’s “blue book” of impairment listings, arthritis is listed under 14.00 Immune System Disorders. The impairment listing details the level of disability required to qualify as a disability. The basic requirement for getting approved for SSD benefits for arthritis or any other physical or mental disease, condition or injury is that the applicant must be able to provide sufficient medical evidence that proves their level of disability. The medical evidence must also prove that your condition is not likely to improve in the next 12 months.

Being treated by a rheumatologist is vital to proving you are disabled from arthritis. Many people have some form of arthritis, and just see their primary care doctor or take over the counter medication. Being treated by a rheumatologist will mean getting the necessary tests to show the severity of your arthritis, and show you have tried all of the treatments out there and are still too impaired to work. It is very difficult to have a successful SSD claim based on arthritis without treatment with a rheumatologist.

The SSA is more concerned about how the arthritis, after medical treatment, limits your ability to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) than they are about the severity of the condition. If the arthritis keeps you from being able to perform the work tasks in your current job, the SSA will try to determine if there might be other types of work activities that you can do depending on what kind of work experience you have in your employment history. The SSA factors in your age, your level of education and your physical and mental health as they consider whether you might be able to be trained for another kind of work that you can perform within the limitations of your arthritis.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability in Maryland

To qualify for SSD with arthritis, you must first have sufficient work credits, and then you must have sufficient medical evidence that will prove to the SSA that you are disabled to the point where you are unable to work.

If you are considering applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you might consider how much it could benefit you to work with an experienced Maryland SSD attorney. Working with a knowledgeable professional who is familiar with every detail of the program will help improve your odds of success.

At the law firm of Plaxen Adler Muncy, PA we have skilled Social Security Disability claims attorneys in Baltimore, Howard County and throughout Maryland who are ready to help you file your claim at no up-front charge. We offer our services on a contingency basis, and we get paid out of those back benefits you receive when your claim is approved. We look forward to speaking to you about your Social Security Disability claim. Call us or submit our contact form to learn more.