Collecting Social Security Disability for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can be a debilitating condition. We understand that the pain can range from discomfort to almost unbearable. Pain and stiffness from Osteoarthritis alone are not enough to qualify you for Social Security disability. But if your osteoarthritis has advanced to a stage where it severely limits your mobility and/or your use of your hands there is a very good chance that you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
When Can I Collect Social Security for Osteoarthritis?
In order to be considered “disabled” by Social Security – whether you have Osteoarthritis or any other disability – you must be able to prove that your health problem is severe enough to keep you from working for at least 12 months. The
The Social Security Administration takes into consideration your age, your education, and your past work when deciding whether you are unable to work. However, for most applicants under age 50, the SSA will require proof that you are unable to do any type of work in the general economy . . . not just your regular or previous type of work.
Qualifying for Social Security with Osteoarthritis Under “Blue Book”
Social Security has several specific “impairment listings” set forth in the “Blue Book”. If you can prove that you meet the criteria in the Blue Book you will “automatically” qualify for Social Security Disability.
Mainly the listings related to Osteoarthritis in the Blue Book relate to specific back problems and joint problems.
Qualifying for Disability with Osteoarthritis Back Problems
Osteoarthritis often occurs in the vertebrae of the spine, but osteoarthritis in the spine will only qualify you for disability under certain conditions. You must prove that you have a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in your spine PLUS one of the following:
- Compression of the spinal nerve root , limiting motion of your spine; or
- Narrowing of the lumbar region spinal canal making it difficult to walk; or
- Inflammation of the arachnoid membrane surrounding the nerves of the spinal cord, requiring you to change position more than once every 2 hours.
Qualifying for Disability with Osteoarthritis Joint Dysfunction
In order to qualify for the Blue Book listing for Osteoarthritis Joint Dysfunction you must have:
- an obvious deformity in at least one joint; and
- an MRI or other imaging must show joint space narrowing, ankylosis (fusion), or the destruction of bone; and
- a history of joint pain and stiffness and a loss of motion in the joint; and
- the dysfunction must exist in:
- one hip, knee, or ankle joint, making it extremely difficult to walk; or
- one shoulder, elbow, wrist, or hand in each arm, making it extremely difficult to use your hands.
Qualifying for Disability Based on Reduced Functional Capacity
If you have osteoarthritis but you do not meet the “Blue Book” criteria under listed above, you could still be approved for disability if you can show that your arthritis limits your ability to function so much that you can’t do the physical activity required by most jobs.
The Social Security Administration will look at your “residual functional capacity,” or “RFC” – to determine what kind of work you are still capable of doing despite the limitations from your arthritis.
If your osteoarthritis affects your legs or your spine, it may limit walking, lifting, etc. but your “RFC assessment” may determine you can still do sedentary (“sit down”) work. However, some walking or standing may be required for sedentary work, so if you have severe enough trouble walking, you may not be able to perform even sedentary work.
If your osteoarthritis affects your shoulders, arms, or hands, your RFC assessment may limit the work you can do that involves lifting, reaching, typing, writing, etc. This would make it difficult to do many jobs, even sedentary jobs – in which case the SSA should find you sufficiently disabled to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
Our Lawyers Collect Social Security Disability for Osteoarthritis
Remember, no matter how disabled you are, the SSA will only approve your Social Security claim if you have properly completed all of the necessary paperwork and submitted the necessary medical documentation that “proves” your condition.
For this reason, it is almost always in your best interest to have an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer by your side.
If you are suffering from arthritis please call our Social Security lawyers for a free case evaluation. We have helped hundreds of individuals in Orange County, including Santa Ana, Anaheim & Irvine, collect the maximum Social Security Disability for which they qualify.
Free Social Security Disability Lawyer Consultation: 800-964-8047