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Can I Continue Working with Rheumatoid Arthritis?

If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and it keeps you from participating in regular daily activities as well as prevents you from working, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. Any one of any age can suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis that can cause limitation of joints, persistent swelling, and severe pain.

If your arthritis is severe enough to limit your abilities to perform basic work tasks, such as standing, walking, pulling, carrying, reaching, sitting, lifting, or handling, you may be eligible to receive monthly disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Advanced rheumatoid arthritis can impact one or more body systems because it is an autoimmune condition. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you will need to visit a rheumatologist regularly for treatment adjustments.

How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects Your Physical Capacity to Work

Rheumatoid arthritis can impact multiple joints. Because of this, it can prevent you from standing or sitting for long periods of time. It can also keep from being able to reach, lift, carry, pull, or handle things. You may require assistance for your mobility, such as the use of a walker or cane. Even with a walking device you may be limited on how long you can stand or how far you can walk. You may not be able to bend or squat, which can limit your ability to perform work functions.

If your rheumatoid arthritis affects your hands, wrists, and fingers, you may not be able to hold a pen for long period or do data input for long periods. You may find yourself unable to grasp items or do dexterous tasks, such as sorting paperwork or doing filing. Besides being unable to lift items you may not be able to reach above your head or remove items from shelves because of your joint condition.

Rheumatoid arthritis often involves taking pain medication and immunosuppresants, which can cause dizziness, drowsiness, cause fatigue, and even cause nausea and gastrointestinal issues.

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How Your Ability to Perform Specific Jobs is Impacted

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and it affects your spine, ankles, knees, and/or hips, you aren’t going to be able to stand long periods, so you can’t perform retail store duties, work in construction, or work in a shipping and receiving facility.

Spine and leg involvement can also keep you from driving a commercial vehicle or working as a machine operator. The involvement of almost any joints can impact your ability to work in a manufacturing and assembly position because your limited to hand and arm movements as well as the ability to stand or sit for long periods.

Rheumatoid arthritis can impact many joints including the wrists, shoulders, and fingers as well as the hips, spine, knees, and ankles. If multiple joints are involved, you may not be able to perform fingering tasks such as grasping, typing, or writing and you may require a device to help you with your mobility, such as a walker or cane.

Because of mobility limitations, you can’t operate heavy equipment or drive a tractor-trailer. Any pain medications can cause drowsiness and dizziness, which means you can’t drive or operate machinery. Because of finger and wrist involvement, you may not be able to perform sedentary work such as data entry or operate a hospital switchboard.

Applying for Disability Benefits

The Social Security disability benefit claims and approval process is detailed and complicated. In order to be approved for benefits, you need to provide as much documentation and evidence as possible. You will be required to provide tests that confirm your diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, which will include scans such as MRIs, x-rays, and blood tests.

Your doctor’s detailed notes that indicate any limitations or restrictions are also required. Your records should detail any treatments you have undergone and how your condition responded to them.

You can start the application process online on the SSA's website. You can schedule an appointment at your local SSA office to start the application in person as well. Because the claims process is complicated, you can benefit significantly by recruiting the help of a disability attorney or advocate. A lawyer can greatly improve your odds of being approved for monthly disability benefits.

You have a lot to gain from a successful Social Security disability claim. A successful claim wouldn’t just mean consistent financial support for your ailment—it would also grant you the kind of stability that you may have been missing out on for years now.

Unfortunately, winning a claim isn’t a cakewalk, which is why you should consider consulting a Social Security disability attorney or advocate. Your attorney will use his or her knowledge and experience to fight on your behalf and help you get the benefits you need—and you don’t even need to pay your lawyer unless you win. A successful Social Security claim could be life-changing, so don’t wait to get an evaluation and talk to a Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible.