If you suffer from debilitating arthritis, you might be eligible to get Social Security Disability benefits, which can help you cover the costs of medical treatment and basic living expenses. Social Security has a challenging disability approval process, which results in thousands of applicants being denied benefits every year.
If arthritis has made it impossible for you to work and you are interested in applying for disability benefits, you should speak with a Social Security attorney now so you can improve your chances of a successful disability benefits claim.
How Does Arthritis Qualify for Disability Benefits?
The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book to determine if individuals meet the criteria to be classified as permanently and fully disabled. The Blue Book has several impairment listings for back problems and joint problems that arthritis might be evaluated under. If you meet the requirements for one of these listings, you should be approved for disability benefits.
As an example, your arthritis has seriously impacted your back and hips. You will then try to meet the listing for having major dysfunction of a joint. In order to meet these specified criteria, you have to have undergone an MRI to show narrowing of the joint spaces, fusing of the joints known as ankylosis, or destruction of the bone within your back. Your medical history must show a recurrent stiffness, joint pain, and loss of joint motion. The joint dysfunction must exist in:
- One ankle joint, hip or knee making it difficult to walk. You must not be able to walk without the help of a walker, two canes, or two crutches and you can’t climb a few stairs reasonably paced while using a handrail or you need the help of an individual to go to the grocery store or to do errands. OR
- One wrist, hand, shoulder, or elbow in each arm is impacted enough that it has become extremely difficult to use your hands effectively. As an example, you need help preparing meals, sorting files or papers, or handling personal hygiene needs.
How Can An Attorney Help Me While Applying?
Sometimes it might be difficult to determine if your condition meets the criteria of a listing in the Blue Book. Your attorney can go over your medical records, talk with you about your limitations, and then help you determine if your condition meets the criteria of the Blue Book to qualify for disability benefits. If you suffer from severe stiffness, pain, and loss joint motion, you might be eligible to receive disability benefits.
Your advocate or attorney will review your claim thoroughly and help you gather up your records and documentation to determine if you meet the criteria to be approved for benefits. If the SSA cannot find the documentation they need to approve your claim, it will be denied. Your attorney can serve as the liaison between the SSA, your physician, and other parties to ensure the SSA accesses the necessary records to evaluate your case.
How Can My Attorney Help Me If My Claim Is Denied?
If you file a claim for disability benefits based on arthritis and it is denied, your Social Security attorney or advocate will help show that you cannot earn a gainful income by using the medical-vocational allowance. This approach involves the consideration of your medical conditions, your age, past work history, and your educational background all at once to determine if you can work.
If your claim is denied and it must be appealed, you will appear before an administrative law judge for a hearing and you will be questioned by a vocational expert about your work history and how your condition affects you. Your attorney or advocate can help you prepare for the questioning. Your questions might involve, “How difficult is it for you to open a bottle or a jar?” “Can you stand or sit for two hours without repositioning?” “Is it difficult to walk?” “How much can you lift now when you are having an arthritis flare?”
Connect With An Attorney Today
If you suffer from arthritis and want to apply for disability benefits, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form today to be connected with a local Social Security advocate or attorney who can help you get your disability claim on track.