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Gout and Social Security Disability

Gout is a condition which causes recurring episodes of acute inflammatory arthritis. It is characterized by redness, tenderness, stiffness and swelling of the affected joint(s). The condition is sometimes referred to as podagra when the big toes are affected. The condition is caused by high uric acid levels in the bloodstream which causes crystallized deposits in the tendons and joints. Additional symptoms sometimes caused by gout include:

  • Urate neuropathy (rapidly deteriorating kidney function)
  • Tophi (outgrowths caused by uric acid crystals near joints)
  • Kidney stones

There are a variety of treatment options available to those who suffer from gout. The most common are:

  • Steroids
  • Colchicine
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Febuxostat
  • Allopurinol
  • Probenecid
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Dietary changes

Nearly 4% of the population suffers from gout at some point in their lives. The symptoms can range from mildly painful to debilitating.

Qualifying for SSD with Gout under the Blue Book Guidelines

Gout is related to inflammatory arthritis. When considering disability claims based on gout, the Social Security Administration’s representatives use listing 14.09 in the Blue Book, which deals with inflammatory arthritis. Under that listing, you qualify for Social Security disability benefits if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Any of your weight bearing joints (knees, ankles, hips) is affected to the degree that you cannot walk effectively.
  • Any of your major upper extremity peripheral joints (shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands) makes it impossible to perform either gross or fine motor movements.
  • Two or more body systems are significantly affected by your gout.
  • You have at least two of the following symptoms: weight loss, fatigue, malaise, chronic fever.

You may also qualify for disability benefits based on gout if you have chronic bouts of inflammatory arthritis which cause fatigue, weight loss, fever, or malaise if you can show that your condition severely limits any of the following:

  • Daily living activities
  • Social functioning
  • Difficulty concentrating which causes difficulty completing tasks on time

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must be able to show medical records which indicate that your condition meets the criteria despite all attempts at treatment or therapy. It is important that you continue to see your health care professional throughout the process of applying for benefits and that you continue to follow your doctor’s orders.

Qualifying for SSD without meeting the Blue Book Guidelines

If your gout does not meet the conditions outlines in the Blue Book, there are still ways to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will look at the total of all medical and mental conditions which you have in order to determine whether you can reasonably be expected to return to any kind of work. They will also consider the types of work you have performed in the past, any training you’ve received, and your education level in determining which types of jobs may be possible for you to perform. If you can demonstrate that your condition (or the total effect of all your conditions) is so severe that you could not reasonably be expected to perform any job for which you could be trained, you will qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Your Gout Social Security Disability Case

If you have not already done so, you should strongly consider contacting a Social Security disability lawyer before proceeding with your gout disability claim. Claimants who are represented by lawyers who are familiar with the Social Security disability requirements are nearly twice as likely to have their claims accepted.

A Social Security lawyer can even help you if your claim has already been turned down. Most gout Social Security disability claims which are approved are approved during the hearing phase of the appeals process. Your Social Security disability lawyer will know how to best present your case and represents your best chance of being awarded Social Security disability benefits.