Degenerative joint disease, which is also known as osteoarthritis, leads to the gradual loss of cartilage from your joints over time. This inflammation of the joints and the surrounding tissues can lead to severe pain and result in limited movement. While degenerative joint disease can appear in any joint, it is more often found in the shoulders, lower back, hands, neck, knees, and hips.
Sometimes, as the condition worsens, it can be so severe that it keeps you from being able to work. In those situations, you might be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits.
What Are Degenerative Joint Disease Symptoms?
There are several symptoms that accompany Degenerative Joint Disease. Most common symptoms are stiffness, pain, and decreased motion of the joints. There are several causes of Degenerative Joint Disease, such as overuse of the joint, changes that accompany age, and basic wear and tear after years of use. More than half of those diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease have a genetic predisposition to the condition. There are several treatment options, such as orthopedic devices, anti-inflammatory medications, and palliative pain relief medications.
Blue Book Listings For Degenerative Joint Disease
To be approved for Social Security disability benefits, your condition must meet the criteria specified for the listing in the medical guide that is used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to determine disability. There are two Blue Book listings that can be used for Degenerative Joint Disease.
The first is Major Dysfunctions of a Joint in Section 1.02. To meet the criteria to be approved for disability benefits using this listing, there must be physical abnormality, such as contracture, subluxation, or instability that must be shown by either an X-ray or MRI that reveals joint fusion, destruction of the cartilage or bones, or joint spaces narrowing.
The other listing would be Disorders of the Spine in Section 1.04. This means that you have Degenerative Joint Disease in your spine and it has resulted in nerve root compression, arachnoiditis, or spinal stenosis. This listing covers various disorders of the spine, such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, herniated nucleus pulposus, spinal stenosis, and spinal arachnoiditis. To be approved, you will need physician treatment notes that confirm the diagnosis, as well as objective evidence that shows deterioration, such as a CAT scan, MRI, or X-ray reports.
Consult With A Social Security Disability Attorney
If you have been diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Disease and it has left you unable to work, you should consult with a Social Security Disability attorney. With an attorney on your side, your odds of a successful claim increase significantly. An attorney can make sure your file is in order and that you have all the right documentation available for Disability Determination Services to review. Most claims are denied, so you will need a lawyer to file an appeal. A disability attorney can also represent you at the hearing level.