How Much Does Disability Pay With Osteoarthritis?

If your physician has diagnosed osteoarthritis and you are finding it difficult, or impossible, to go to work, you could qualify for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits.

Osteoarthritis is the gradual loss of the cartilage in your joints and commonly affects what the medical profession calls load-bearing joints. Osteoarthritis may become so painful that it limits what you are able to do. If you believe you qualify for SSDI you should consult a disability lawyer to help you through the often difficult process.

Is Osteoarthritis A Disability?

Osteoarthritis is considered a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Osteoarthritis can be debilitating, causing severe pain and mobility issues. Many joints can be affected by osteoarthritis, including the knee.

Even tricompartmental osteoarthritis or osteoarthritis in the knee is a disability. To qualify for disability benefits, you will need to meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing.

To meet the criteria of the listing for having an abnormality of a major joint, you will need to provide copies of medical records, including medical imaging reports such as MRIs or x-rays that show fused joints or bones, joint space narrowing, or destruction of bone.

You must also show you have a history of joint pain or stiffness, and a loss of motion or stability of the joint. You must also have supporting documentation that shows:

  • You need to use a walker, two canes or two crutches, or a wheelchair or scooter that requires both hands OR
  • You can’t use one hand due to arthritis and you need the other to operate a one-handed wheelchair, cane, crutch, or other device OR
  • You can’t use either arm or hand to begin, sustain, and finish work

If osteoarthritis of the knee has required surgery, you may qualify under Listing 1.17, which is for reconstructive surgery or fusion of a major weight-bearing joint. You will need documentation of reconstructive surgery or fusion, evidence that you have difficulty moving that has lasted or that is expected to last 12 months, and proof showing you need a walker, two canes or two crutches, or a wheelchair or scooter that requires the use of both hands.

You May Be Eligible for $3,345 a month

Using Your Osteoarthritis Disability Rating

If you are receiving VA disability benefits, that information can be used as evidence for your Social Security Disability claim. A VA rating for osteoarthritis does not automatically qualify you for disability benefits, but it can be used as supporting evidence in your disability claim. You can receive both VA disability and Social Security disability benefits at the same time.

You will need to let the SSA know that you are receiving VA disability and include the details of your compensability rating. If you have a 100% P&T rating, your Social Security disability claim will be expedited. That means you will get a response regarding approval or denial within a matter of weeks rather than months.

Osteoarthritis can range from mildly disabling to completely disabling. The VA will rate the arthritis based on the proof that it is directly connected to the individual’s military service. While you can use that rating as evidence with your Social Security claim, the SSA will also consider any other disabilities or impairments that you may have.

In some cases, combining multiple medical issues can be beneficial for the success of a SSA disability claim. So, if you have osteoarthritis and you also have diabetes or heart disease, you will want to include details about all of your medical issues for your Social Security disability claim.

The Cost of Having Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is typically an expensive disease to treat, with the likely prospect of long term care, medication and surgery to ease the symptoms. Therefore, it is classified as a disability. Some of the cost is for medication, which is around 33 percent, while the remainder is for hospitalization. The cost for an individual is not precise as some victims will need surgery to replace joints while others may not.

Who Qualifies for SSDI Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses the Blue Book, which is a medical guide that determines who qualifies for SSDI benefits. Osteoarthritis is classified under Section 1.00, which is the musculoskeletal system. The Blue Book is the list of conditions that qualify for disability. If you are seeking approval for SSDI benefits, the documentation you provide and your medical records should indicate that you meet at least one of requirements and that any pain you are suffering due to osteoarthritis is so severe that you are unable to work and it also has an impact on your ability to complete daily routine tasks.

Under Section 1.02 is joint dysfunction, which states your joints must suffer from stiffness, loss of ability to move, and pain. To prove you qualify for SSDI benefits you need to show images that show fusion or stiffness, bone destruction, or the decline of the joint space between the joints that are most affected. As well as this evidence, you will be required to show that either your hip, ankle or knee are affected so much that you need an assistive device to help you go about your normal routines. Alternatively, you can show your elbow, shoulder, wrist or hand is impacted so much that you are unable to do things like sort files, pull and push movements, prepare meals and reach out to complete essential tasks.

If osteoarthritis affects the spine which causes loss of ability to move, extreme pain, sensory or motor loss and it can be proved, these are also grounds for eligibility to receive SSDI benefits. There are other disabilities caused by osteoarthritis which may also qualify for SSDI. If you do not meet SSDI criteria through the Blue Book there are other options open that might mean your case can meet approval for disability benefits. This is through the residual functioning capacity form (RFC). This is when your physician specifies what your limitations are, the treatment you require and your symptoms.

How Much Does Disability Pay With Osteoarthritis?

You May Need a Disability Lawyer

You have much to gain from winning an SSDI benefit’s claim. Osteoarthritis is a long term disability, so being awarded an SSDI benefit gives you the financial support you need for years to come. Unfortunately, it is never easy winning a benefit of this type, so you should consider consulting with a disability lawyer who will use his or her experience and knowledge to work on your behalf to get the benefits you need that help you lead a more normal life.

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