Ankylosing spondylitis can limit your mobility, cause substantial pain, and take away your ability to work and carry out daily living activities. In some cases, it can even affect your heart, lungs, and other vital organs. If your ankylosing spondylitis prevents you from working and earning a living, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is for working Americans, while SSI is for those with demonstrated financial need. Ankylosing spondylitis is a qualifying condition for both programs. A Social Security disability lawyer from Disability Advantage Group can help you get approved for benefits. For a free consultation, call 865-566-0800.
Basics of Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a unique and rare condition that defies easy classification. Affecting roughly 1% of the U.S. population, and occurring in men more than in women, this inflammatory disease can strike in a few areas of the body but most often attacks the spine, causing vertebrae to fuse. When this fusion happens, movements that were once easy, such as bending, stooping, and stretching, can become painful or downright impossible.
The most common early symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis are:
- Pain in the low back or buttocks, particularly when it comes on early in the morning or wakes you during the night;
- Pain and stiffness in the low back and hips;
- Neck pain and fatigue.
The causes of ankylosing spondylitis are unclear, though doctors attribute it more to genetics than to specific injuries, illnesses, or lifestyle factors.
The most common risk factors are sex, age, and family history. Men are more susceptible than women, and the ailment tends to strike during late adolescence or early adulthood.
Most people with ankylosing spondylitis have a specific gene called HLA-B27. However, the vast majority of people with the HLA-B27 gene do not have ankylosing spondylitis.
The Social Security Disability Listing for Ankylosing Spondylitis
To receive Social Security disability, you must qualify on both a medical and a non-medical basis. The non-medical qualifications refer to your income, assets, and work history. The medical requirements for each injury or illness are unique.
The SSA maintains a “Blue Book” of medical conditions that receive automatic consideration for benefits. If you have a condition in the book and meet the medical requirements listed under that condition, you can qualify for benefits, assuming you also meet the non-medical requirements.
If your condition does not appear in the book, you can undergo something called a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test to prove that your condition affects you the same as would a listed condition.
Ankylosing spondylitis has a listing in the Blue Book. The medical qualifications are that you meet at least one of two criteria:
- Fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine, as evidenced by medical imaging at 45 degrees or more of flexion from the vertical position, OR
- Fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine, as evidenced by medical imaging at 30 degrees or more of flexion from the vertical position, plus involvement of two or more organs or body systems with one involved at a moderate or higher degree of severity.
A Social Security disability lawyer from Disability Advantage Group can review your claim and your medical evidence and make sure before you submit anything that you meet the medical qualifications for benefits.
To schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 865-566-0800.
Applying for SSDI vs. SSI for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Even if you meet the medical requirements to receive SSDI or SSI for ankylosing spondylitis, you must meet the non-medical requirements for one or both programs to collect benefits.
SSDI Non-Medical Requirements
SSDI is set up like a disability insurance program where working adults pay premiums to qualify for benefits and can file a claim once they have a qualifying disability. Since it is a taxpayer-funded program run by the government, your “premiums” take the form of your payroll taxes.
As a result, to receive SSDI benefits, you must have a sufficient work history. An attorney can review your case and let you know if you will run across problems in this area. If your work history is insufficient, you may qualify for SSI instead.
SSI Non-Medical Requirements
SSI is a means-tested disability program for the needy. In order to qualify, you must have a demonstrated financial need. That is, your income and total assets cannot exceed certain thresholds.
An attorney can review your financial documents and determine whether or not you make too much money or have too high a net worth to receive SSI. In rare cases, we have had clients qualify for and receive benefits from both SSDI and SSI.
How a Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help You Get Disability Benefits for Ankylosing Spondylitis
Working with a disability lawyer can give you the best chance of getting approved for SSDI or SSI on the first try. The application and review process is long and complex, and if you do not get approved initially, you have to file an appeal, which can take many additional months. A first-try approval can have you collecting benefits much sooner.
When you work with a Social Security disability lawyer from Disability Advantage Group, we help you:
- File your claim;
- Collect strong evidence and supporting documentation;
- If necessary, file an appeal.
For a Free Social Security Disability Case Evaluation for Ankylosing Spondylitis, Call Disability Advantage Group at 865-566-0800
If you have been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and want to apply or appeal for Social Security disability, a lawyer can help you file a claim that has the best chance of a favorable outcome. Disability Advantage Group connects injured Americans with the benefits they deserve. We want to put our resources to work for you. For a free consultation regarding disability benefits for ankylosing spondylitis, call us today at 865-566-0800.