Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis primarily affecting the spine. Although virtually any form of arthritis can have negative impacts on a person’s mobility because the spine plays a critical role in many physical tasks, ankylosing spondylitis in particular can put a patient at risk of developing permanent restrictions.
If you have this condition and develop such permanent restrictions, you may eventually struggle to work and earn an income. The following overview covers common permanent restrictions associated with ankylosing spondylitis and what you may do if these restrictions prevent you from working.
What Are Some Permanent Restrictions?
Permanent restrictions from ankylosing spondylitis can take several potential forms. They include the following:
- Spinal fusion: The vertebrae of the spine can literally fuse together when a patient has ankylosing spondylitis. If this happens, a patient’s mobility will diminish significantly. Additionally, their spine may be brittle and fracture-prone, making it dangerous for them to engage in certain physical activities.
- Iritis: Some patients with ankylosing spondylitis develop iritis, a condition resulting in eye redness and swelling. Iritis can cause vision changes that may be permanent.
- Cauda equina syndrome: Ankylosing spondylitis may result in compression of the cauda equina nerves in the lower back. Symptoms of cauda equina syndrome include (but aren’t necessarily limited to) leg pain, weakness or tingling in either one or both legs, urinary function changes, changes in sensation during sex, and decreased sensation in the saddle region.
What To Do If You Can’t Work Because of Ankylosing Spondylitis Permanent Restrictions
The permanent restrictions you might develop if you have ankylosing spondylitis can render you unable to work and earn an income. In these circumstances, you can apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits through the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA).
Social Security disability benefits can help you cover the cost of such basic needs as food and housing. To show that you are eligible to receive benefits, you will need to provide the SSA with medical documentation of your condition. You will specifically need to show that your condition prevents you from working and is likely to last at least 12 months or result in your eventual passing.
It’s likely you will need to undergo a residual functioning capacity (RFC) assessment as well. An RFC assessment involves a doctor evaluating your ability to perform work-related tasks.
Other requirements can vary depending on the type of Social Security disability benefits for which you’re applying. For example, to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will need to show that you have earned “work credits” and paid into the Social Security system in the past. On the other hand, if you were to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you would need to show you are financially unable to address your own needs.
A Disability Attorney May Help
If you have developed permanent restrictions associated with ankylosing spondylitis and are applying for SSD benefits accordingly, strongly consider enlisting the help of a disability attorney when doing so. They can advocate on your behalf, potentially improving your chances of receiving the benefits you seek. Get started by taking the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with a disability lawyer who can help you today—at zero out-of-pocket cost to you.