Denied Disability with Arthritis

Do not let a denied Social Security with arthritis disability claim get you down. After all, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies a vast majority of disability benefit claims. On top of that is the medical condition called arthritis, which can mimic the symptoms of other ailments and not produce symptoms that are severe enough to warrant approval of a disability benefits application.

Fortunately, the SSA gives arthritis sufferers a second chance to make a positive first impression by establishing a four-step appeals process. If your arthritis disability claim has been denied, you can file an appeal.

How to Get an Arthritis Denied Disability Claim Overturned

The second chance to make a positive first impression on the SSA requires you to submit more compelling medical evidence that includes conclusive diagnostic tests. You should also consider completing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.

The Severity of Your Symptoms Matter

Simply receiving an arthritis diagnosis is not enough to convince the SSA to approve your appeal for disability benefits. You have to prove the severity of your arthritis symptoms.

Arthritis comes in many forms, and some forms are not a part of the Blue Book that acts as the official medical guide for the SSA. For example, rheumatoid arthritis lists in Section 14.09 of the Blue Book, but other types of arthritis do not make the cut.

Pain in the joints is a common symptom of arthritis. Severe pain means you cannot hold a pen or squeeze a ball. Pain can also shoot through your back, ankles, and some muscles. Sharp, constant pain can make it difficult, if not impossible to complete basic physical tasks like walking around the office or holding a stack of documents. Joint and muscle stiffness often limits mobility and reduces strength.

Diagnostic Tests for Arthritis

Reversing the decision made by the SSA for denied disability benefits means coming back with more powerful medical evidence the second time around. Although the type of arthritis symptoms that you have determines the type of diagnostic tests conducted by a physician, you can expect to go through several different blood tests to detect the presence of inflammation. Imaging tests can present evidence of severely swollen joints in the hands, wrists, knees, and ankles.

Physical Tests

Since arthritis can be a tricky ailment to prove, undergoing a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment should be one of the items on your appeal to-do list. An RFC measures how much work you can accomplish while dealing with symptoms of arthritis.

A doctor from Disability Determination Services (DDS) puts you through a battery of physical tests that include simple exercise such as squeezing a tennis ball and bending your knees. The goal of an RFC assessment is to determine how well you hold up during several physical stress tests.

Although the SSA requires everyone that undergoes an RFC to visit with an agency physician, you should ask your doctor to conduct an RFC assessment to confirm the results of the assessment administered by the SSA.

How Severe Does my Arthritis Need to be to Qualify?

Contact an Attorney for a Free Case Evaluation

Having an arthritis disability claim come back denied by the SSA should not send you into a panic. What the denial should do is motivate you to present a more persuasive claim during the appeal process. A Social Security disability lawyer can put you through a free case evaluation to determine where the holes are in your case. Your attorney can also ensure that you file your appeal promptly, as you have just 60 days after the day you received the denial letter to file an appeal.

Additional Resources

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