Can You Get Disability for Arthritis?
More than 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis. And this condition can limit or prevent you from working and impact your quality of life. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis which can cause swelling and inflammation of the joints, make movement painful, and cause joint deformities.
Many people may not be aware that benefits are available or there may be confusion about the process to apply for benefits. Disability for arthritis can help you mitigate the costs associated with this disease, including:
- loss of income due to the inability to work,
- pay for prescriptions and doctor visits, and
- assisted living devices.
So how can you get disability for arthritis? Read on to learn more.
How Do I Qualify for Benefits?
Even though arthritis is more likely to affect older adults, benefits are available to individuals of all ages. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees disability benefits, which either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may cover. It is possible your condition may qualify you for both types of benefits.
When you apply for disability for arthritis, the SSA will consider a variety of factors. These may include your ability to work and your history of treatment. Qualification for disability for arthritis also depends on the type of arthritis you have and its severity. Arthritis is severe when it causes:
- persistent inflammation,
- deformity of major and minor joints,
- limits or prevents your ability to move, or
- affects organs.
Can You Get Disability for Arthritis If You Can Still Work?
Individuals with arthritis may have difficulty performing even the simplest tasks. If your condition hinders but does not prevent you from performing common activities such as those listed below, you may be considered capable of doing medium, light, or sedentary work:
- lifting, or
- using fine motor skills.
If you are gainfully employed according to the SSA standard, which is defined as earning at least $1,220 per month, you do not qualify for Social Security Disability. Earnings of $1,220 are considered proof of your ability to perform gainful work.
If the SSA determines you cannot perform work you previously engaged in, you may be eligible for training to do a different type of work. Your age, education, work experience, and overall health will be taken into consideration. If the SSA believes you can be trained to do any other work that is available, they will deny benefits.
So the answer to the question "can you get disability for arthritis if you can work?" is no. Your arthritis must prevent you from doing any available work in order to receive disability for arthritis. Keep in mind that if you are close to retirement age, you may qualify for disability for arthritis even if you are able to perform sedentary work.
What Medical Information Do I Need?
The treatment you've received for your arthritis will be considered during the qualification process. You must have at least three months of medical treatment before you qualify to apply for disability for arthritis benefits. Medical records should include types of tests, results from CAT scans or MRIs, range of motion evaluations, blood work, and other lab tests. Your physician will be able to provide the necessary documentation for the SSA.
If the SSA determines you are unable to do any kind of work, whether you've previously performed it or not, you will qualify for disability for arthritis.
Do I Need a Lawyer During the Application Process?
Although it isn't a requirement, you may want to consider working with an attorney as you prepare your benefits application. He or she can help you with the necessary forms, medical and employment documentation, and ensure your application is complete.
What If Benefits Are Denied?
It is important to keep in mind that Social Security will often deny initial claims for all types of disability benefits, but there are steps you can take to appeal that initial decision.
If your benefits are denied, you are entitled to a hearing before a judge and to have legal representation. An appeal hearing can actually work to your advantage. It is likely to be your best opportunity to get approval for disability claim.
During the hearing, your lawyer will present your case detailing why arthritis prevents you from working and will provide evidence to support your claim. You are entitled to bring witnesses to testify to the extent of your arthritis and its effect on your day-to-day activities and your ability to work.
Can You Get Disability for Arthritis? It's Possible With the Help of a Disability Attorney
Arthritis can be debilitating, affecting your employment and quality of life. At CJ Henry Law Firm, we may be able to help you obtain disability benefits for arthritis. Contact us today.