Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the most common types of arthritis which can be so severe that they prevent you from working. If you have been off work for at least 12 months or expect to be, you may qualify for arthritis disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Gaining approval for a benefit isn’t always straightforward or simple. Good signs that you could obtain early approval apart from the inability to work include medical evidence and your past work history. For a fuller account of signs you may be approved for a disability benefit, read on below.
Sign 1: You Meet Non-Medical Requirements
When you are employed, periods of work count towards work credits. If by the time you have applied for a disability benefit you have accumulated enough work credits this can help to qualify you for a disability benefit approval through the social security disability insurance scheme. The main point about work credits is that it is easy to prove you have them. There is no long-winded appraisal as there is if you are applying for supplemental security income (SSI) from the SSA.
Sign 2: You Have Sufficient Medical Evidence of a Disability
When the SSA assesses your disability, they will look at the medical evidence you have of the onset of the symptoms, the current status, prognosis, doctor’s records, tests, scans, etc. The more comprehensive this information is that you have available when you apply the more likely that your arthritis disability benefit will be approved. More than half of disability applications are rejected initially because of insufficient medical evidence submitted to the SSA.
Sign 3: You Cannot Work for At Least 12 Months
Whatever the status of your disability and however much you have been employed before, it is unlikely that your arthritis disability benefit application will be approved unless you have already been off work for the last 12 months. Alternatively, if you can show evidence that you expect to not work in the next 12 months, this may meet the SSA criteria for approval. Note that the reason for being unable to work must be shown to be because of the pain and /or inability to move joints, not for some other reason.
Sign 4: You Meet a Blue Book Listing
The SSA uses a comprehensive listing of disabilities to match against the symptoms you experience. For arthritis, for example, there are detailed descriptions of what the SSA considers severe rheumatoid and osteoarthritis under the skeleton-muscular disorders section. The more exactly the symptoms experienced, and for which there is evidence, match what is listed in the Blue Book, the more likely that approval will be granted.
For arthritis that doesn’t quite match the Blue Book listing, there is also the option to have a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment by a medical practitioner to demonstrate what sort of work can and cannot be undertaken.
Sign 5: You are Working With a Disability Lawyer
Obtaining approval for arthritis disability benefits can be difficult even if the above signs are present. Another way to improve your chances of approval is to work with a disability lawyer. The lawyer can have a good working understanding of SSA protocol and the sort of evidence needed to gain approval. If you do have to appeal a denied benefit application, you may almost certainly need the sort of legal help a disability lawyer can provide. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connect with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.