A musculoskeletal system disability is the most approved type of disability for a disability benefit. These disabilities, which represent 32.3 percent of disabilities approved for benefits, include damage to one’s nerves, tendons, muscles or ligaments. Examples of this type of disorder are arthritis, back pain such as scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, ruptured disc or spinal disorders and fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a complex widespread pain in the joints, tendons, muscles and soft tissues that lasts for three months or more. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) is another common illness that covers a range of symptoms that may occur from injury, diseases or surgery which causes burning or chronic aching pain.
Musculoskeletal System Disabilities
Most musculoskeletal system disabilities are severe and affect one’s ability to work. These include arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD).
Disability Approval for Arthritis
Arthritis is considered to be a disability by the SSA if it is so severe you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months. This means you are unable to stand for long periods of time or walk unaided for a sustained period of time. If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis it is listed under section 14.09 - Inflammatory Arthritis. Also, to qualify for SSDI you will also need to have accumulated sufficient work credits. Typically, if you have worked for 5 years out of the last 10 you will have enough work credits.
Disability Approval for Back pain
Many forms of arthritis may cause back pain, stiffness and swelling which is often chronic and may last for long periods of time. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, in order to qualify for disability benefits your back pain should match the Blue Book listing for inflammatory arthritis. If the SSA does not accept your diagnosis you can ask your doctor to undertake a residual function capacity (RFC) assessment which evaluates your ability to move, sit and stand for prolonged periods of time.
Disability Approval for Fibromyalgia
For a diagnosis of fibromyalgia to be confirmed there must be widespread pain felt in at least two parts of the body that the patient has experienced during the past week. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not include fibromyalgia in its Blue Book listing of impairments. You may still qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), particularly if you have medical evidence that proves you are unable to work for at least 12 months and you have been diagnosed with arthritis.
Disability Approval for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
In the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book there is no listing for reflex sympathetic dystrophy, so proving total disability and achieving disability benefits because of a diagnosis of RSD can be difficult because there are no specific criteria for approval.
Because the symptoms of RSD often include swollen, painful joints, it may be possible to file for disability benefits under Section 1.02 of the Blue Book Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause). If you decide to file for disability benefits under this section, your medical records should show that RSD has caused you to suffer gross anatomical deformity, such as subluxation, contracture, bony or fibrous ankylosis, instability, as well as chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joints.
Your medical records should show that at least one of your weight-bearing joints (hip, knee, or ankle) has been compromised or that at least one major joint in your arms has been adversely affected which affects your ability to move.
It is important to describe the extent of your limitations to prove to the SSA that you are unable to work. Fill out a free evaluation form.