Arthritis is one of those debilitating medical conditions that no one wants to happen to them. Unfortunately, it isn’t always avoidable. If you are a victim of arthritis you are not alone as it is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. 44% of diagnosed patients have limitations in activities due to arthritis. The inflammation that occurs due to arthritis may mean you will have activity limitations such as undertaking normal daily tasks both in and outside the home. For many it is impossible to go to work and earn a living. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability benefits to eligible sufferers of arthritis which help with their financial needs.
Limitations When Suffering From Arthritis
Walking/ Climbing Stairs
Climbing stairs may be difficult, due to hip, knee, foot, or back pain. Stairs may be hard to navigate because of the physical disabilities caused by arthritis. Even though mobility can be affected there are mechanisms available to assist with walking like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs
Gripping of the Fingers
Because arthritis causes inflammation of the joints it is often difficult to grip your fingers which may lead to a struggle with eating and gripping utensils as well as lifting food to one’s mouth. Hygiene standards can also be altered if the individual suffering from arthritis has limitations.
There are many quite simple everyday tasks that an arthritis sufferer may find hard to do such as difficulties with turning door handles, faucets, and other objects. Socializing may also be affected due to such physical limitations. Cleaning can also become a struggle due to the difficulty of kneeling or bending down.
The physical pain and limitations caused by arthritis may mean the sufferer has difficulties going to work and performing work related tasks particularly those that need good mobility. Loss of mobility is a key symptom of arthritis and so many jobs require the use of the hands and other parts of the body to complete tasks safely.
Evidence to Help When Applying for a Disability Benefits
When filing a claim for a disability benefits with arthritis you will need to state what type of arthritis you are suffering from. For example, if the diagnosis is rheumatoid arthritis, you will need to provide evidence that you are experiencing persistent pain and swelling and that your joint movement is limited due to the arthritis. If your diagnosis is osteoarthritis, you have to provide proof that your arthritis limits your ability to move your hands and arms and that you have significant problems with standing or walking. Similar proof is required for inflammatory arthritis.
What the SSA wants to know is how the presence of arthritis affects a claimant’s ability to engage in substantial gainful activity. This often depends on whether the claimant’s usual job is sedentary or the work requires a high level of physical activity. The SSA makes it easier to have a claim approved for arthritis because it can be found in the SSA’s Blue Book listings under Section 14.00. The Blue Book states that if you are suffering from inflammatory arthritis, you must meet the following requirements:
- persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more peripheral weight-bearing joints resulting in the inability to move effectively;
- inflammation or deformity of one or more major peripheral joints that restricts mobility.
You will also need to prove you are suffering from some of the following symptoms: fever, malaise or involuntary weight loss.
You will need to provide a medical report from your doctor showing you are unable to work for at least 12 months. Sufficient medical records are also required when filing a successful disability claim for arthritis. Some of these are:
- test results indicating your functional and mobility limitations;
- imaging tests which could be MRIs, CAT scans, x-rays, or PET scans;
- laboratory results proving the presence of arthritis;
- blood tests indicating the presence of inflammatory arthritis.
What You Will Need to Know When Filing for Disability Benefits with Arthritis
It is never easy to win a disability benefits claim but if you can gather sufficient evidence proving your arthritis will stop you from engaging in any work for at least 12 months you have a higher chance of winning your claim. To help to get the disability benefits you deserve you should contact a disability benefits attorney who will assess your eligibility from the evidence you have provided. The attorney will use his or her experience winning claims like yours when working on your behalf.
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