According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost a quarter of the adult population of the United States suffers from the pain and disabling symptoms of arthritis with the cost of medical treatment and lost wages exceeding $303 billion annually. It ranks as the most frequently cited cause of work disability.

If arthritis prevents you from working, Social Security disability benefits may be available to help ease the financial pressures. The Social Security Administration uses specific criteria to determine whether a medical condition, such as arthritis, allows you to qualify for disability benefits through the Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance programs.

As you read through the information that follows about arthritis disability and Social Security disability benefits, keep in mind that your best source for advice and representation in all matters related to disability benefits is a disability lawyer at NY Disability Law. Whether filing an initial application for benefits or challenging an adverse decision on a claim through the appeals process, people trust the knowledge and skills of the Social Security disability professionals at NY Disability Law.

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis generally refers to any of the many types of joint pain or disease, including the following:

  • Rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis: These types of arthritis are also referred to as inflammatory arthritis because they are associated with severe inflammation of an otherwise healthy joint that is attacked by a person’s immune system.
  • Degenerative arthritis: Cartilage acts as a cushion preventing bones of a joint from directly contacting and rubbing against each other. When the cartilage wears away and bones contact each other, it generally causes severe pain, discomfort and limits normal motion of the joint.
  • Infectious arthritis: This occurs when a virus affects a joint and causes inflammation and swelling accompanied by pain.
  • Gout or metabolic arthritis: When uric acid collects in a joint, the resulting inflammation, swelling and pain can be debilitating.

When an arthritic condition becomes severe enough to prevent a person from engaging in normal work activities, it may qualify as a disabling medical condition that qualifies for SSD benefits. According to the criteria used by Social Security to determine whether a medical condition is severe enough to be disabling, the impairment must be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

Meeting The Blue Book Criteria

Social Security maintains a Listing of Impairments, which is unofficially referred to as the “Blue Book.” It contains impairments for each major system of the body that are deemed severe enough to prevent a person from engaging in gainful activity or, in other words, cause the person to be disabled and unable to work.

The listings refer to several conditions related to arthritis, including:

  • Surgery on a weight-bearing joint: If you had reconstructive surgery on your hip, knee or other weight-bearing joint because of an arthritic condition you may qualify for an arthritis disability benefit provided you require the use of a walker, bilateral canes or other device requiring the use of both hands to assist you when walking.
  • Joint abnormality: The listing includes dysfunction of a major joint caused by arthritis. Your lawyer must prove with medical records, diagnostic imaging and statements from your doctors that the joint does not function properly because of swelling, stiffness, pain or deformities caused by an arthritic condition.
  • Arthritis of the spine: Lumbar spinal stenosis requires evidence that you experience pain, limited flexibility, and inflammation.

A review of your claim by an arthritis lawyer from NY Disability can determine whether your medical condition satisfies the listing criteria. However, if it does not, you may still be able to qualify for arthritis disability benefits.

What Happens When Your Arthritis Does Not Meet Listing Criteria?

You still have a chance of getting an arthritis disability benefit even though your medical condition does not meet the listing requirements. The application filed on your behalf by an arthritis lawyer at NY Disability goes through a multi-step review process with the Listing of Impairments being only one of them.

If your arthritis does not meet one of the impairment listings, it must review the application to determine whether you can do work that you did before or another type of work. It considers your age, education, experience and limitations caused by your medical condition to determine whether your arthritis prevents you from working and qualifies you for Social Security disability.

Consult An Arthritis Lawyer Before Applying For SSD

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis that limits your ability to work, a disability lawyer at NY Disability can review your claim and help you file an application for arthritis disability. If you already filed an application and your claim was denied, we can challenge the denial through the appeals process. Learn more about your claim and how we can be of assistance by contacting us for a free consultation.