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Inflammatory Arthritis and Social Security Disability

Unless you have lived with inflammatory arthritis, it is impossible to understand just how painful and debilitating the condition can be. Something as simple as signing your name on a piece of paper can be an excruciatingly painful experience. It goes without saying that those who suffer from severe forms of this disease are unable to perform the responsibilities that are required of full-time work activity. With no means of income or medical insurance, it can be impossible for these individuals to afford their daily living expenses, let along the pain medication that they need to control their symptoms. Fortunately, in many cases, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income can help. If you are suffering from inflammatory arthritis and have been unable to work due to your symptoms, the following information will help you understand the disability claim process and how the SSA reviews Social Security Disability claims based on this particular diagnosis.

Inflammatory Arthritis Condition and Symptoms

There are two types of arthritis that an individual may suffer from including non-inflammatory arthritis and inflammatory arthritis. When an individual is suffering from inflammatory arthritis, the joints become inflamed, causing severe pain and limited mobility. There are many different types of inflammatory arthritis that an individual may suffer from including rheumatoid arthritis, gout and lupus.

Inflammatory arthritis can occur due to a number of reasons. Usually, inflammatory arthritis is the result of an autoimmune disorder. When an individual is suffering from this type of inflammatory arthritis, it is because the body is rejecting its own tissue and is reacting with painful inflammation as it tries to fight the healthy tissue of the body.

The symptoms of inflammatory arthritis can vary depending on the specific type of inflammatory arthritis that an individual is suffering from and how severe the case of arthritis is. Common symptoms of inflammatory arthritis include: pain and swelling in the joints, a warmness to the joints, stiffness, a decreased ability to move objects and skin around the joints; becoming stiff sore to the touch.

It goes without saying that some of the individuals who suffer from inflammatory arthritis are unable to maintain gainful employment. If you are suffering from the severe symptoms of this disease, an application for Social Security Disability benefits is in order.

Filing for Social Security Disability with Inflammatory Arthritis

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has recognized inflammatory arthritis as a disabling condition. The Blue Book of Medical Listings recognizes Inflammatory arthritis in both Sections 14.00D and 14.09. According to these published guidelines, an individual who suffers from inflammatory arthritis will qualify for Social Security Disability benefits if:

  • There is a persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more of the weight-bearing joints, resulting in the applicant's inability to move around effectively.
  • There is inflammation or a deformity in one or more of the major peripheral joints in each of the upper extremities resulting in the inability to perform fine and gross motor movements effectively.
  • There is inflammation or deformity in one of the major peripheral joints and two or more organs are affected with symptoms being at least a moderate level in severity and at least two of the constitutional symptoms (such as fever or involuntary weight loss) being present.
  • There is ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies with a fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by appropriate medically acceptable imaging and measured on physical examination at 45° or more of flexion from the vertical position.
  • There is fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by appropriate medically acceptable imaging and measured on physical examination at 30° or more of flexion (but less than 45°) measured from the vertical position (zero degrees) and the involvement of two or more organs or body systems with one of the organs or body systems involved being damaged to at least a moderate level of severity.
  • There have been repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs resulting in a limitation of daily activities, limitation of maintaining social functioning or limitation in the ability to complete tasks in a timely manner.

If you suffer from these guidelines that have been published by the Social Security Administration, you will meet the criteria necessary to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, you will have to prove your case to the Social Security Administration. That means providing the SSA with a complete copy of your medical records along with your Social Security Disability claim forms.

Because the limitations placed on an individual who is suffering from inflammatory arthritis are normally due to pain, the residual functional capacity forms that are provided in your Social Security Disability application paperwork will be important to the outcome of your disability case. Make sure that you provide detailed answers on these forms, ensuring that the adjudicator reviewing your file completely understands how your inflammatory arthritis interferes with your day-to-day activities.

Inflammatory Arthritis and Your Social Security Disability Case

If you provide the Social Security Administration with enough medical evidence to prove that your condition meets the guidelines that have been published in the SSA's Blue Book of Medical Listings, you will likely be approved for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process. However, if there is any doubt as to whether or not you meet the SSA's specific Blue Book guidelines, or whether you are capable of performing any type of work activity, chances are that your claim for Social Security Disability benefits will be denied.

If you are denied benefits during the initial stage of the application process, make sure that you consult with a qualified Social Security Disability advocate or attorney as soon as possible. These professionals will help you understand why your initial application for Social Security Disability was denied and they will begin to help you gather the evidence that will be needed to prove your case during the disability appeal process. Your chances of winning an appeal in order to overturn the SSA's denial of your Social Security Disability benefits are much greater with the help of a disability advocate or a disability attorney.

To learn more about filing for SSD benefits with inflammatory arthritis or to learn more about working with a Social Security Disability lawyer, simply fill out the form for a free evaluation of your case.