4 Common Musculoskeletal Conditions that Qualify for Disability Benefits

Submitted by Elizabeth on

There are many musculoskeletal conditions that qualify for disability benefits but the commonest ones are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and degenerative disc disease. These are the most severe musculoskeletal conditions which appear in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book. They are normally so severe that the victim is unable to work for at least 12 months.


Osteoarthritis causes a severe burning sensation or painful dysesthesia and restricts the victim’s ability to move which means the victim has to change position or posture more often than usual. Because nerve root compression occurs with osteoarthritis it limits the spine’s movement and can cause muscle weakness and sensory or reflex loss if the lower back is also affected. This means the victim is unable to work for at least 12 months and should qualify for disability benefits .Osteoarthritis can be found in section 1.04 of the Blue Book under Disorders of the Spine.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects several joints, including the feet and hands. It causes swelling, pain and heat in the joints, usually starting in the smaller joints of the hands or feet. It also causes stiffness in the joints, particularly in the morning and both mental and physical fatigue. It tends to affect the same joints on both sides of the body. A victim of rheumatoid arthritis should be eligible for disability benefits if the effects of it are so severe that you will be unable to work for at least 12 months. It is found in section 14.09 of the Blue Book which lists the evidence required to support the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness and tingling in the wrist and hands which can make it difficult to take part in work-related activities such as typing or moving objects. Because carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t have its own Blue Book listing an applicant for disability benefits with carpal tunnel may qualify under listing 1.02, which is Major Dysfunction of Joint(s), as long as the medical condition will stop you from working for at least 12 months.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease occurs when the cushioning in the spine starts to wear away which can cause pain, weakness, or numbness. It occurs more often in older people. If the condition is so severe that the victim is unable to work the condition can be found in the Blue Book in Section 1, paragraph 1.04.

More information on Degenerative Disc Disease.

Get Help With Your Claim

Musculoskeletal conditions can be serious and debilitating which often prevent the victim from earning a living. If you take a Free Case Evaluation (the form on this page), you’ll get connected and be able to speak with a disability lawyer who can help you file a claim for disability benefits—at zero cost to you. Ultimately, working with a disability lawyer to increase your chances of getting approved for disability benefits will ease the financial burden when you are unable to work. The attorney should be able to help you gather all the evidence required which supports your eligibility for disability benefits.