Joint Pain and Social Security Disability

Joint pain is any pain which affects the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, neck, or anywhere else where two bones meet. Joint pain ranges from temporary to chronic and from mild to severe. The fact that one or more joints are used for practically any movement we make can make it difficult for those suffering from joint pain to engage in work or other daily activities, especially if they suffer from severe and chronic joint pain. There are many conditions which cause joint pain. Some of the most common are:

  • Gout
  • Lupus
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Bursitis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Age
  • Infections
  • Some types of cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Injuries

The treatments available for joint pain depend on what is causing the pain. They may include medication and/or surgery.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability with Joint Pain

There are three ways to approach a Social Security disability claim based on joint pain:

  • The first is to qualify for disability based on the listing under major dysfunction of a joint due to any cause in Section 1.02 of the SSA Blue Book.

    To qualify for disability under the actual listing for major dysfunction of a joint (Section 1.02), you must meet one of these two conditions in addition to having medical imaging which shows damage to your joint(s):

    • Both upper extremities (hand, wrist, elbow, or shoulder) affected to the point that you are unable to effectively perform either gross or fine movements.
    • One weight bearing joint (ankle, hip, or knee) affected to the point that your ability to walk is significantly affected.

  • The second is to qualify for a Blue Book listing based on the actual cause of your joint pain (i.e., surgery, arthritis, lupus, gout). In such cases, refer to the requirements to meet the listing of that condition (severe joint pain will often be one of the requirements).

  • The third way to qualify for disability benefits based on joint pain involves showing that your joint pain (along with any other disabilities you may have) makes it impossible for you to perform any job for which you could reasonably be trained.

Medical Documentation to Prove Joint Pain

In order to qualify for disability benefits, you must show that you are not working (if you are working, the SSA will take that as proof that you are capable of working) and that your condition makes it impossible for you to work. This must be substantiated with medical evidence.

The exact evidence needed to claim Social Security based on joint pain varies somewhat depending on what is causing the joint pain. Typically, you will need to show that your joint pain has lasted for a year or longer (or is expected to last a year or longer) and that it makes it impossible for you to work. Typical medical evidence required includes X-Rays, lab tests, and/or MRIs or other medical imaging.

Your Joint Pain Social Security Disability Case

If you are filing for Social Security disability based on joint pain, contact a Social Security disability lawyer. Joint pain claims can be difficult to get approved, especially if the medical evidence is not presented in a manner which clearly shows the effects of your medical condition on your ability to work and perform typical daily functions.

Social Security lawyers are familiar with the ins and outs of the disability system. Should your claim be denied and need to go through the appeals process (this happens in the vast majority of joint pain disability claims), a Social Security lawyer will be familiar with the administrative law judges and other officials who deal with disability claims and appeals in your area. Best of all, there is no cost unless your benefits are approved.

Additional Resources

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