Collecting Social Security Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Our experienced lawyers understand that Rheumatoid Arthritis can be a painful and debilitating condition that makes working impossible. While pain and stiffness from Rheumatoid Arthritis alone are not enough to qualify you for Social Security disability – in most cases Rheumatoid Arthritis will limit your mobility and/or your use of your hands enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
In order to be considered “disabled” by the SSA – whether you have Rheumatoid Arthritis or any other disability – you must prove that your medical condition is severe enough to keep you from working for at least twelve months.
Social Security takes into consideration your age, education, and past work history when deciding if you are unable to work. 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.
Social Security Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis 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 set forth in the Blue Book you will “automatically” qualify for Social Security Disability.
The medical listing in the Blue Book for Rheumatoid Arthritis is long and complicated – but it does offer multiple ways that a disability applicant with RA can qualify under the listing. To qualify for benefits under the Blue Book listing for Rheumatoid Arthritis, you must prove that you meet one of the following requirements:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis is present in a joint in your legs, causing significant difficulties in walking (e.g., needing two canes, a walker, or a wheelchair); and/or
- Rheumatoid Arthritis affects joints in both of your arms, preventing you from performing many types of tasks with your arms (involving both large muscle movements and small manipulations); and/or
- Inflammation or permanent deformity in one or more major joints, PLUS moderate involvement of at least two more organs or body systems, causes at least two of these symptoms: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and/or involuntary weight loss.; and/or
- Ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathy, fixes your spine at least at 45 degrees; and/or
- Ankylosing spondylitis or spondyloarthropathy fixes your spine at least at 30 degrees, PLUS moderate involvement of at least two bodily systems; and/or
- Repeated flare-ups of your Rheumatoid Arthritis PLUS at least 2 additional symptoms (including fever, extreme fatigue, malaise, or weight loss) cause limitations in your activities of daily living, social functioning, and/or your ability to complete tasks.
Social Security Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis – Reduced Functional Capacity
If you have Rheumatoid Arthritis but do not meet any of the above “automatic” Blue Book criteria, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove to the SSA’s satisfaction that that you are unable to perform consistent work.
The SSA will look at your “residual functional capacity,” or “RFC” – to determine what kind of work you can or cannot perform due to the limitations from your Rheumatoid Arthritis.
For example, if your Rheumatoid Arthritis affects your legs or your spine, it may limit walking, lifting, etc. but an “RFC assessment” may still determine that you can do sedentary (“sit down”) work. However, if you have severe enough trouble walking, you may not be able to perform even sedentary work.
If your Rheumatoid Arthritis affects your shoulders, arms, or hands, your RFC assessment may limit the type of work that you can perform involving lifting, reaching, typing, writing, etc. In this case it would be difficult or impossible to even sedentary jobs – in which case Social Security should find that you are sufficiently disabled to receive Disability benefits.
Our Lawyers Collect Social Security Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis
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