Arthritis is a common ailment that can be debilitating in many cases. According to the CDC, over 21% of Americans (over 53 million people) suffer from arthritis.
While not every person with arthritis has severe symptoms, it’s still a leading cause of work disability. Not only can it impact your ability to perform tasks, it can also affect daily activities and social functioning.
If you struggle with this condition, you may be wondering if you can get Social Security Disability for arthritis. The answer is not always simple, as claimant eligibility depends on many factors. However, if your condition leaves you unable to work, you should receive approval for disability benefits.
Can You Get SSDI for Arthritis?
If you’re unable to work due to your disability, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of Americans. Many people with arthritis find it hard or impossible to perform daily tasks and work responsibilities.
SSDI eligibility depends on several factors, including things like age, work history, and the severity of your condition. To qualify for SSDI for arthritis, you need proof that you can’t perform Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). You must also have a substantial work history, proving you have paid into the Social Security System over time. If you have never worked or haven’t worked long enough to qualify for SSDI, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
Can You Get SSI for Arthritis?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is awarded to individuals who don’t have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. SSI is a needs-based program for blind, aged, and disabled individuals with extremely limited income and resources.
You can qualify for SSI for arthritis if you’re unable to work due to your condition. You must also meet the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) eligibility criteria for SSI beneficiaries.
Applying for Benefits With Arthritis
The SSA is responsible for approving disability claims. In order to qualify for benefits you must provide medical and non-medical evidence that supports your claim.
You must also meet the following criteria to qualify for Social Security Disability for arthritis:
- Your condition must be medically diagnosed by a medical professional.
- Your condition must be expected to last, or has lasted, at least 12 months or result in death.
- Your condition must prevent you from taking part in SGA and maintaining gainful employment. This includes the type of work you currently do and may also include any new type of work.
Proving Your Disability
The SSA requires claimants to provide proof of their disability and its severity. This includes both medical and non-medical evidence. Some examples of what you may provide to the SSA to qualify for Social Security for arthritis include:
- Imaging Test Results
- Other Test Results
- Current and Past Treatment Plans With Results (can include medication, physical therapy, etc.)
- Medical Evaluations/Doctor’s Notes
- Accounts from Coworkers/Family/Friends
You may also be required to take a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment. This will allow the SSA to determine how severely your condition limits your physical abilities. Sometimes, arthritis doesn’t qualify a claimant for benefits. However, the SSA’s Blue Book lists several forms of arthritis as qualifying impairments.
Additionally, the SSA will assess the type of arthritis you have before approving or denying your claim. They will also look at where and how the arthritis is affecting your body. For example, are you unable to walk or move at a normal pace? Is your condition chronic or do you suffer from occasional flare-ups?
Types of Arthritis
Symptoms of arthritis include discomfort, inflammation, and aching in one or more joints. As people age, these symptoms often intensify. It’s especially disabling when weight bearing joints are affected.
There are over 100 different types of arthritis. Arthritis can occur anywhere in the body and may be inflammatory, degenerative, or trauma-related. Arthritis may also be caused by an autoimmune or other disease, such as lupus.
The most common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, gout, pseudogout, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
When reviewing your claim, the SSA will compare your disability to those listed in the Blue Book.
Blue Book Impairment Categories
Several forms of arthritis are in the Blue Book as qualifying impairments. For example, osteoarthritis is evaluated under section 1.00, Musculoskeletal Disorders. Inflammatory arthritis is evaluated under section 14.09 under Immune System Disorders.
Just because your condition isn’t in the Blue Book doesn’t mean that you won’t qualify for disability benefits. You must show that your condition comes with symptoms and limitations that are as severe as those in other listings. This means your condition must meet or equal a qualifying condition.
You may also qualify by applying for benefits under a specific body system that is affected by your condition. For example, certain spinal conditions that can be caused by arthritis may be evaluated under Section 1.00.
Social Security Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Gout, Pseudogout, and Osteoarthritis
For individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis, securing Social Security Disability benefits can be a crucial step towards managing their condition. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling, weakness, and other symptoms that impact a person’s ability to work.
Knowing the disabling nature of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s easy to see how similar conditions like osteoarthritis, gout, and pseudogout can also qualify an individual for benefits.
Individuals suffering from psoriatic arthritis, a condition causing joint pain and skin rashes, may also qualify for Social Security Disability. The question, “Can you get Social Security Disability for psoriatic arthritis?” is particularly relevant for those whose condition impairs their ability to maintain employment.
Psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other forms can easily cause severe symptoms that prevent consistent work performance. By demonstrating the debilitating effects of these conditions, applicants can navigate the Social Security Disability application process with a higher chance of approval.
Examples of Disabling Symptoms Caused by Arthritis
Many people experience a range of disabling symptoms when they have arthritis. Some examples of symptoms that can prevent sufferers from performing even sedentary work include:
- Difficulty Balancing
- Inability to Walk or Stand for Long Periods
- Limited Flexibility
- Pain and Swelling in the Joints
- Reduced Range of Motion in the Joints
- Severe Back Pain
- Inability to Grip Items or Use Hands (such as holding pens or typing)
- Inability to Walk or Drive
If your arthritis symptoms make it hard to perform SGA, contact a qualified disability lawyer. The Social Security Administration denies most initial disability claims. Working with an SSI or SSDI lawyer will improve your chances of receiving the benefits you need.
Our attorneys at Peña & Bromberg can show you how to apply for disability in California.
Contact Us at Peña & Bromberg
If you’re wondering if you can get Social Security Disability benefits for arthritis, contact our disability attorneys in Stockton, CA. At Peña & Bromberg, our experienced legal team is here to fight to get you the benefits you need. Find out more about our services when you contact us online. Request a free consultation today!