You’ve tried every arthritis treatment suggested by your doctor, yet nothing seems to end the pain, inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and weakness that is caused by your osteoarthritis. Things have gotten so bad that it is impossible for you to work. You are completely disabled, and if you have paid enough into the Social Security system, you might be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
Are You Eligible?
You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you can prove that you meet one of the listings in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. The potential listings for osteoarthritis include:
- Section 1.02 Joint Dysfunction. In order to qualify pursuant to this standard, you must experience a gross anatomical deformity, chronic joint pain and stiffness with limited or abnormal motion, and medical imaging that shows joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis. At least one major peripheral weight bearing joint that impacts your ability to walk effectively or at least one major peripheral weight bearing joint in each upper extremity that affects fine or gross motor must be impacted.
- Section 1.04 Disorders of the Spine. If your spine is impacted by osteoarthritis, you must meet the technical requirements of this listing (or another) in order to qualify for benefits.
You may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits even if you don’t meet either of these listings, however. The Social Security Administration may find you eligible for benefits if you submit a residual functional capacity form that proves you are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (or work the minimum amount) because of your osteoarthritis.
Protect the Social Security Disability Benefits You Deserve
Whether you apply for Social Security disability benefits pursuant to one of the listings in the Listing of Impairments or with a residual functional capacity form, you will need to present medical evidence and a complete application that fully and accurately describes your medical condition and the impact your condition has on your ability to work. Your medical evidence should include your diagnosis, all of the treatments you have tried, and information about how your osteoarthritis impacts your activities of daily living.
Establishing Social Security disability is not easy to do. However, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer can help you and advocate for your fair award of benefits. To learn more, please schedule an initial consultation with one of our board-certified lawyers at your earliest convenience.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.