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5 Things to Know About Social Security Disability Insurance and Arthritis

Chicago social security disability benefits lawyer, arthritisIn previous posts, we have discussed how suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may entitle you to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Arthritis is a serious medical problem that affects millions of Americans. In light of this, the following includes a few things you should know about how arthritis affects a potential disability claim.

1. Arthritis Is a Chronic Condition

The most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints in a person’s hands, feet, knees, hips, or shoulders. While there are medical treatments available to help alleviate this inflammation, there is no actual cure for arthritis. It is a chronic condition that, over time, often leads to deformity of a person’s joints. Arthritis may also interact with other medical disorders, such as obesity, which taken as a whole may help demonstrate a person’s total disability to Social Security.

2. Social Security Looks for Proof of Severe Arthritis

Occasional joint pain will not qualify you for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security’s medical listing for rheumatoid arthritis requires medical proof of a severe disability that limits your ability to work full-time. For example, if you have arthritis in your leg, and that prevents you from walking without the assistance of a walker or wheelchair, that may qualify you for disability benefits. Similarly, you might be disabled if you have arthritis in both of your arms that prevents you from performing common work-related tasks.

3. Social Security Will Look at Your Ability to Work Despite Your Arthritis

As we explained in an earlier post, Social Security also looks at your “residual functional capacity” when assessing a disability claim. This refers to the agency’s estimate of your ability to work when taking into account your rheumatoid arthritis and any other medical condition you might have. Even if your arthritis is not severe enough to qualify as a disability under Social Security’s medical listings, you may still be entitled to benefits if an agency official determines that you are unable to perform any meaningful labor. Among other things, Social Security must consider the type of jobs you can perform based on the following limitations:

  • Whether you are able to sit or stand for more than a couple of hours at a time during a typical workday;
  • Whether you can lift more than 10-20 pounds on a regular basis;
  • Whether swelling in your fingers prevent you from engaging in even sedentary labor; and
  • Whether you will require frequent rest breaks to cope with your arthritis.

4. Arthritis Requires Competent Medical Evidence

As with any disability claim, Social Security will require medical evidence of your arthritis. You should provide records from your doctor illustrating any arthritis diagnosis, including any notes that discuss the frequency, duration, and severity of all symptoms. And while there is no single test for diagnosing arthritis, there are blood tests that can indicate the likelihood of the condition. If you have taken any such blood tests, Social Security should see those as well. In addition, you should provide documentation of any treatments you have received in connection with arthritis. Again, there is no cure for arthritis, but Social Security will still need evidence of any treatment to determine how the condition affects your ability (or inability) to work.

5. Get Help From a Chicago Disability Lawyer

Aside from seeking medical treatment, the most important step you can take in pursuing a disability claim is to work with an attorney who understands the Social Security process. A Chicago disability benefits attorney can assist you at all stages of dealing with Social Security officials. If you are unable to work due to arthritis or any other condition, contact Pearson Disability, LLC, today.



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