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Receiving Disability Benefits for Arthritis
Many people believe arthritis only affects the elderly. While arthritis in some of its forms is more prevalent in the elderly, there are many types of arthritis, and in some cases, neither the young nor the elderly are spared. Arthritis can make it extremely difficult to work or to complete your day-to-day tasks. Your chances of obtaining disability benefits for your arthritis increase significantly when you have an experienced disability attorney from Carmichael Law Group to assist you.
The Social Security disability attorneys from Carmichael Law Group have compassion for your situation and believe we can help you get the benefits you need and deserve. We know you are unable to work and make a living, yet the Social Security Administration may be denying your application for disability benefits. We are highly skilled and experienced in every single aspect of Social Security disability. No matter what stage of the process you are at—the initial application or a subsequent appeal following a denial of your application—Carmichael Law Group can help.
At Carmichael Law Group, we understand that while meeting your impairment listing requirements is important, your story is even more important. Your story clearly shows that not only do you meet SSDI’s five-step review process, but it also shows the impact your impairment has on your life and on your ability to work and make a living. When your story is told in a skilled manner, your likelihood of receiving the disability benefits you need and deserve increases significantly.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
What is Arthritis?
There are several types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the age-related wear and tear of the joints. Osteoarthritis can be exacerbated by a lack of physical exercise and excess weight. Osteoarthritis generally involves joint pain and progressive stiffness and pain that develops slowly, over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that tends to affect the small joints of the hand and the wrists.
Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to many other medical conditions. In rare cases, when a bacterium or virus enters the joint, infectious arthritis can occur. Rheumatoid arthritis involves painful swelling, inflammation, and stiffness—usually in the wrists, legs, arms, or fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can progress much more quickly than osteoarthritis symptoms.
Other rare forms of arthritis include fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, and septic arthritis. The term “arthritis” literally means the destruction of joint surfaces. While arthritis can be hereditary, lifestyle and work influence whether an individual will develop arthritis.
As an example, a person who sits for their job and is not physically active outside their job could develop arthritis (inflammation) in the spine. In fact, the food we consume, our environment, and our sedentary lifestyles are all risk factors associated with arthritis. Serious arthritis can prevent you from working or engaging in your normal day-to-day activities.
Is Arthritis a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
To qualify for a disability under SSA rules, your disability must be listed in the SSA impairment listings—the listings that are used to approve or deny an individual benefits. Arthritis can be found in the impairment listings under Section 14.00, Immune system Disorders. Under 14.09, Inflammatory arthritis, the following requirements must be met to qualify for an arthritis disability:
- Persistent inflammation or deformity of:
- One or more peripheral weight-bearing joints that result in the inability to effectively move that joint, OR
- One or more major peripheral joints in an upper extremity that results in the inability to perform fine movements, OR
- Inflammation or deformity of one or more major peripheral joints with:
- Involvement of two or more body systems or organs with one of those body systems or organs having at least a moderate level of severity, AND
- At least two constitutional symptoms: fever, malaise, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue OR
- Ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies, OR
- Repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis with a minimum of two constitutional symptoms (fever, malaise, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue) and at least one of the following:
- An inability or limitations in completing tasks in a timely manner
- An inability or limitations in maintaining social functions
- Limitations in your daily living activities.
Providing Proof for Arthritis and Disability Benefits
If you are unable to meet the impairment listings requirements above, your attorney can help you determine which tests or medical evidence you are lacking, then your doctor can help you have those tests. Even if your arthritis fails to meet every requirement listed, you could still be eligible for disability benefits by requesting a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment. Such an assessment can prove you are unable to work in your normal field of work due to your arthritis.
This RFC will need to be completed by a doctor. It will thoroughly outline your arthritis symptoms and how those symptoms affect your ability to work. The doctor will determine how long you can walk, stand, and sit, or how much you can push and pull. Any other physical limitations will be detailed. It could be helpful to keep a daily journal detailing how your arthritis affects your ability to work and complete day-to-day activities, as well as your pain levels each day
Getting Help with Your Arthritis and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
Obtaining arthritis and disability benefits can be complex. Because of this, it is important that you have a highly experienced Social Security disability attorney who understands what the SSA is looking for and can help you provide that information. Our knowledge of SS disability law, along with our resources and compassion for those we help creates the best possible chance of success. We will fight for you and for your disability benefits every step of the way. Contact Carmichael Law Group, LLC today.