When Does Someone With Arthritis Qualify For Social Security Disability Or SSI Benefits?

by Jun 28, 2018Disability Benefits

Home » Blog » Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) » When Does Someone With Arthritis Qualify For Social Security Disability Or SSI Benefits?

A diagnosis of arthritis can qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. To start collecting compensation, you must submit an application to the SSA, backed by supporting documentation showing you meet its criteria for approval. The SSA offers two ways to show you are eligible for disability based on an arthritis diagnosis. The first is to meet the criteria of one of the SSA’s Blue Book listings for arthritis. The second is to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test and present results that show your condition renders you fully disabled.

Winning Social Security Disability Benefits for Arthritis

We can put together a robust application for Social Security disability based on your arthritis diagnosis. The first step involves reviewing your medical evidence and determining whether you meet a Blue Book listing. The Blue Book is Social Security’s master list of approved medical conditions, and it features several listings that cover arthritis. If you do not meet a Blue Book listing, that is okay—most disability recipients do not. We simply must take an alternative course to getting you approved. This method involves completing a RFC test.

The Blue Book Listings for Arthritis

The SSA’s Blue Book features a listing for autoimmune-related arthritis, such as rheumatoid and psoriatic. If you have osteoarthritis, you can apply based on a Blue Book listing for the area of your body affected by the condition. If your arthritis causes major dysfunction of a joint, the Blue Book has a specific listing for that, as well.

The Blue Book listing for autoimmune-related arthritis requires that your condition causes deformity or persistent inflammation affecting at least one of the following:

  • One major weight-bearing joint (e.g., knee, hip, ankle) plus one peripheral joint (e.g., shoulder, elbow, wrist)
  • One peripheral joint plus two organs or body systems, as evidenced by symptoms such as fever, fatigue, malaise, and unintentional weight loss
  • Your cervical or dorsolumbar spine

If your condition does not affect at least one of the above but impairs your ability to function on a daily basis due to persistent flare-ups, your arthritis can qualify you for Social Security disability based on that.

Osteoarthritis is reviewed under the Blue Book listing covering the specific area of the body it most severely affects. Arthritis causing major joint dysfunction can receive Blue Book-based approval if it prevents you from walking and moving efficiently, or from performing daily tasks.

Residual Functional Capacity Test for Arthritis

If you do not meet one of the Blue Book listings for arthritis, we can turn to the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) test. The RFC test measures the effects of your condition on your work capacity and ability to carry out activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. It provides an objective measure of whether your arthritis prevents you from sustaining gainful employment doing any type of work you are capable of performing.

Your doctor completes the RFC test, and we submit the results along with your disability application and any supporting documents or evidence that bolster your claim. Our attorneys work hard to paint a picture of the full extent of your arthritis and how it affects you, maximizing your chances of getting approved on the first try.

Meeting Income and Work History Requirements

At your initial consultation, our attorneys can also review your financial documents to make sure you meet the income, asset, or work history requirements for Social Security disability. The SSA actually runs two disability programs: The first, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), is an insurance program and requires you to have worked a certain amount and paid into the system through your payroll taxes; the second, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is a welfare program, and it has firm caps on both income and net worth.

Most of our clients meet the financial requirements for at least one of these programs, and a few discover they are eligible to collect benefits from both. Our disability lawyers can identify any challenges to getting approved for benefits and can help you settle them so that you can start collecting disability as quickly as possible.

To Schedule Your Free Disability Evaluation, Call Our Dedicated Lawyers Today at 865-566-0800

The Social Security disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group, help those with arthritis apply for and win Social Security. Our team wants to help you win benefits as quickly and as easily as possible. We offer a free initial case evaluation to discuss your claim and how we can help. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at 865-566-0800.