Florida is home to more than four million people who are living with arthritis. Not all cases of arthritis are created equal, however. While the majority of individuals impacted by arthritis suffer from manageable aches and pain, others are completely debilitated by their illness. Specifically, those with rheumatoid arthritis tend to suffer from more severe symptoms.
Thankfully, there are many resources available to Florida residents living with arthritis. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has established two distinct programs aimed at offering financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a chronic health condition, such as arthritis.
Rheumatologists in Florida
While most primary care doctors can manage osteoarthritis, individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis are typically cared for by a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists are medical experts that specialize in the treatment of diseases that impact the joints, musculoskeletal system, and in rare cases, the organs.
In addition to managing the pain and associated symptoms that come with arthritis, a rheumatologist plays a vital role in helping their patients earn disability benefits. As the SSA places an enormous amount of weight on the opinion of medical experts, the information provided by your rheumatologist could mean the difference between winning or losing your disability award. Therefore, it’s important to establish a good working relationship with your rheumatologist.
If you have arthritis, or any rheumatic condition, and are not currently working with a rheumatologist, there are many excellent doctors to choose. Listed below are three practices in the Florida area.
University of Miami Health System
Department of Rheumatology
1475 Northwest 12th Avenue
Miami, FL 33136
Rheumatology Associates of Central Florida
3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd.
Suite 30, Orlando, FL 32806
San Marco Campus
1660 Prudential Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 396 – 8656
Arthritis Support Groups
The importance of having support cannot be overstated for those with arthritis. Research has confirmed that social support helps to address not only the physical symptoms, but also the mental and emotional side-effects that sometimes accompany arthritis. Individuals who belong to a support group report less anxiety and depression as a result of their disease.
Luckily, there are many resources for individuals living with arthritis in Florida. From live speaking events to conferences to local support groups, there is an abundance of information and support for those living with arthritis in Florida.
The Arthritis Foundation has established the Arthritis Support Network (ASN). The ASN provides personalized help and support to adults living with arthritis. There are seven ASN locations throughout Florida, including in Broward Country, Eastern Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, North Point, South Palm Beach County, South Miami, and Western Tampa Bay. For more information on a local chapter close to you, visit arthritisintrospective.org/arthritis-support-network.
Applying for Social Security Disability for Arthritis in Florida
If you suffer from any form of arthritis that keeps you from working, you might be eligible for disability benefits from the SSA. To determine your eligibility, the SSA will review the Blue Book. The “Blue Book” is the medical guidebook used by the SSA to determine which illnesses are severe enough to warrant disability payments. There are a handful of sections that might be relevant to you, depending on your exact condition. Osteoarthritis falls under the Musculoskeletal System section, section 1.00, of the book. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be found in section 14.09, Inflammatory Arthritis, of the Blue Book.
Disability awards are reserved for those with severe and permanent conditions that are expected to last for at least one year. Therefore, you will need to provide substantial medical evidence illustrating that your arthritis has impeded your ability to work. If you do not meet the listing requirements as outlined in the Blue Book, you might be eligible for an award via a medical-vocational allowance.
Earning a disability award can be life-changing for people with arthritis, allowing them to have the financial help to pay for prescription medications, medical bills, and everyday medical expenses.
If you are unable to work as a result of arthritis, you can apply for SSDI benefits online. In addition, you can visit one of the several local Social Security offices in your area. Here are three of Florida’s Social Security offices located in major cities:
Miami Social Security Administration Office 33189
11100 SW 211 Street
Miami, Florida 33189
Orlando Social Security Office 32812
5520 Gatlin Ave Suite 101
Orlando, Florida 32812
Jacksonville Social Security Office 32218
1685 Dunn Ave
Jacksonville, Florida 32218
Can a Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me for My Arthritis in Florida?
Earning a disability award for arthritis can be challenging. As many cases of arthritis are mild or can be treated with medication or other approaches, the SSA is careful with how it dolls outs SSDI award for arthritis. Only those with the most advanced cases and with substantial medical documentation will be considered eligible.
Disability candidates who use the services of a lawyer have a much higher success rate than those who attempt to go-it-alone. A qualified Social Security lawyer has dealt with many arthritis cases and knows precisely what information is needed to win an award. There are no out-of-pocket costs for individuals using a disability attorney as they are only paid if you win your case.