Arthritis can be very painful and can even be disabling. If you are the caregiver of a friend or relative with arthritis, you may help your friend apply for Social Security Disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees two disability programs.
Arthritis may make it impossible to lift, bend, squat, reach, grasp, or stand long periods. If your loved one can meet specific criteria that are in the medical guide, he or she may be approved to receive disability benefits from either one or both disability programs.
How Your Loved One Can Medically Qualify For Social Security Disability Benefits
The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, that has very specific and detailed criteria that must be met in order to qualify for disability benefits. To be approved for disability benefits with arthritis, you will need to provide hard medial evidence that matches all the required criteria of a listing that applies to your condition. The Blue Book indicates that to be approved for disability benefits for arthritis, you must have undergone treatment for at least three months before Disability Determination Services can determine the severity of your condition.
Arthritis is reviewed under Section 14.00 of the Blue Book, which is Immune System Disorders. You must meet one of the four criteria to be approved for disability benefits with inflammatory arthritis. Those criteria include:
- Persistent inflammation or deformity of the major joints OR
- Inflammation or deformity of your joints along with organ systems OR
- There is an inflammation or deformity of the spine and/or its surrounding organs OR
- There are repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis that limits your daily life, social functioning, and movement.
If you cannot meet the specific criteria of this listing, you may be able to meet the criteria of another listing that may be applicable to your situation.
Becoming a Designated Payee
If you serve as the caregiver of someone with arthritis, you could serve as designated payee of their disability benefits. Payments from the SSA are sent electronically, so you must have access to the bank account of your loved one.
Disability benefits can be used to cover living expenses, such as rent, groceries, and medical care. You need to keep all receipts, so if there is an inquiry by the SSA you can prove that all benefits were used for the claimant’s benefit.
How To Get Your Loved One’s Disability Application Underway
Medical documentation is essential for a successful disability claim, so you must gather all supporting documentation for your loved one’s disability claim. It often takes several months for a disability claim to be approved, so you should file the claim as soon as possible.
For assistance with the claim, an SSD lawyer can help. Most disability attorneys work on contingency fees, meaning they do not expect payment until your loved one is approved for benefits. To find a disability attorney in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page today!