Help Strengthen Your Disability Case With A Social Worker
For help finding a qualified social worker, the National Association of Social Workers offers its Help Starts Here website, where you can find a social worker to help with various concerns, says Coleman. For more details about applying for disability benefits, download the Disability Benefits PDF brochure from the Social Security Administration, which details the procedure.
Dont let the prospect of a difficult process scare you away from filing an initial application or appealing a denied one.
There is so much stigma in the world for individuals living with chronic illness, says Boles. Patients are paying into these benefits and have a right to access them. If patients cant work, they shouldnt be risking worsening their health and causing more damage to themselves physically and mentally if they continue to work. Its important for people to know they have a right to these benefits.
Getting Disability Benefits For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Joint pain, mobility problems, and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can make full- or part-time work challenging. When people with RA can no longer work, many in the United States seek Social Security disability benefits. Disability benefits help replace lost income when people with RA have to leave their jobs.
Many people with rheumatoid arthritis work for decades before applying for disability benefits. One myRAteam member wrote, I have decided after 30 years of medication and pain and trying to keep working, I can’t take it anymore. I am applying for my disability.
Youre not alone if you share these sentiments. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 19 percent of those who qualified for disability benefits between 2011 and 2013 reported arthritis/rheumatism as their main problem.
Leaving a job or considering leaving because of disability can cause significant financial stress. I worry about the future financially, as we still have mortgage payments and inability to work in the future, a myRAteam member commented.
The process of applying for a disability claim can feel intimidating. Knowing ahead of time what is needed to get Social Security disability benefits can help. Here’s what the Social Security Administration uses to determine disability and how to go through the application process to receive benefits.
How Rheumatoid Arthritis Limits Your Ability To Work
The more severe your rheumatoid arthritis is, the greater work limitations you may have. Early rheumatoid arthritis often affects the joints in the hands, which can decrease your ability to work.
if your job is physically demanding, such as working on a construction site or in a warehouse, it can be harder to grasp or lift heavy objects. In an office setting, it may prevent you from working behind a computer using your mouse and keyboard, or holding a pen or inputting data for an extended period of time. Other repetitive work such as sorting paperwork or doing filing may also be especially challenging.
If your rheumatoid arthritis limits your ability to perform certain work tasks, but is not completely disabling, you may find yourself still able to work, but not enough to earn a decent living.
In these cases, you must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity in order to qualify for disability benefits. Earning over the specified impairment-related work expenses will disqualify you.
For instance, you cannot earn over $1310 a month for any work performed in 2021. This means that if you can perform a bit of work, but you earn less than the SGA limit, you may be able to collect disability benefits. If the SSA thinks that you can work enough to earn SGA, your disability claim will be denied.
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Many People With Rheumatoid Arthritis Are Able To Work For Years Following Diagnosis
You must show that the disease has progressed to the point that you are no longer able to work. In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits you should be prepared to provide detailed medical records and show how your RA has worsened over time. The Social Security Administration relies on the latest edition of the Primer on Rheumatoid Arthritis, published by the Arthritis Foundation, to evaluate rheumatoid arthritis claims.
What Is The Definition Of Disability
There are several criteria used to determine whether someone is considered disabled enough to be eligible for benefits. The following criteria will be evaluated when you apply for Social Security disability benefits:
- If you are making at least $1,260 a month, you are mostly likely not eligible for disability benefits.
- You cannot do the basic tasks most jobs require. These include standing, walking, lifting, sitting, and memory tasks. In addition, you must not have been able to do these tasks for at least 12 months.
- You have a diagnosed disability. The Social Security Administration provides a list of conditions that are considered so disabling that they prevent working. Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the conditions included under the category of inflammatory arthritis. You can still be eligible for benefits even if your specific condition isnt listed.
- You are unable to do the type of work you did previously.
- You must be unable to do any other form of sustainable work. Your diagnosis, age, medical history, and education will be examined, as well as any other work history or skills that might be applied to work.
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Do I Qualify For Disability Insurance Benefits If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis
1.3 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis, RA. Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men.
Not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis is entitled to disability benefits. Disability insurance companies dont always make it easy for policyholders who are disabled because of rheumatoid arthritis to get the benefits they deserve.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis and What Are The Symptoms?
An autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis can cause chronic inflammation of the joints and other areas of the body.
The immune system attacks the protective lining that surrounds a joint called the synovium. The inflammation thickens the synovium and can invade the cartilage and bone. The tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together are weakened and stretched. The joint loses shape and alignment, resulting in joint deformity and dysfunction.
RA initially affects the small joints in the hands, wrist, feet and ankles. As the disease progresses in can involve the shoulders, elbows, knees, hips, jaw and even the neck. It affects the same joints on both sides of the body.
Patients with autoimmune diseases have antibodies and immune cells in the blood that target other body tissue. RA is a systemic illness. The symptoms can include:
- Joint pain and Stiffness
- Swollen and Tender Joints
Debilitating fatigue can limit activity.
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Types Of Disability Benefits In The United States
There are two federal disability programs in the United States, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . Both share one requirement: the person who receives the funds has to have a disability that affects their ability to work. However, the programs are different in other ways.
Social Security Disability Insurance gives disability benefits to those who have previously worked for a required time period in the recent past. SSDI benefits are funded through payroll taxes. If you are approved, you can receive benefits starting six months after you became disabled. If you have been disabled for at least a year, you can get back payments of disability benefits from that year. You are eligible for Medicare 24 months after your SSDI benefits began.
Supplemental Security Income gives disability benefits to those who have not worked the required time period and have limited funds. If you are approved, you can receive benefits in the next month. You may also be eligible for back payments of SSI if you became disabled before your SSI approval.
Almost all states provide additional benefit supplements for SSI recipients but Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia do not. Many of the states that offer an SSI supplement have their own eligibility rules.
Its possible to get both SSDI and SSI if you have very limited funds and also have a work history.
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If Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Doesnt Quite Match The Criteria Of Social Securitys Listing You May Still Be Approved For Disability Benefits If You Are Unable To Perform Consistent Work
Social Security will conduct a Residual Functional Capacity assessment, taking into account how long you can sit or stand, if you need frequent rest breaks, and how chronic pain impacts your abilities, as well as your age, education and job skills. For example, if you have finger swelling and pain, you might not be able to type or perform other tasks required by most sedentary jobs. If Social Security determines there are no jobs you can do, you may be granted a Medical-Vocational Allowance.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, you will need to satisfy a few specific requirements in two categories as determined by the Social Security Administration.
The first category is the Work Requirements which has two tests.
The second category is the Medical Eligibility Requirement.
More details can be found on our Qualifying for Disability page.
Comply With Your Doctors Treatment Plan
We hope youve been doing this anyway for the sake of your health, but its also very important for the SSA to see that youre following medical advice. It shows that youve been trying to get better, Stein says.
If your claim gets rejected, you generally have 60 days following notification of the decision to appeal it. The notification letter will explain which of the four levels of appeal you should select: a reconsideration, a hearing by an administrative law judge, a review by the Appeals Council, or a Federal Court review. You can learn more about each level here.
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What Can People With Ra Do To Make It Easier To Do Their Job
The Arthritis Foundation offers the following suggestions for making it easier to stay in the workplace:
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Create an efficient work environment so you limit the amount of lifting, reaching, carrying, and walking you do.
- Try not to sit in one position or do repetitive activity for long periods of time.
- Set priorities and pace yourself. Do the most important tasks while you feel strongest and most energetic.
- Maintain a schedule. Go to bed at a regular time and get enough rest to carry you through the next day.
Tom Juneman of Houston has another important suggestion: Let your employer know what your limitations are, and ask if you can take breaks throughout the day.
Juneman was diagnosed with RA as a college student 35 years ago and now takes the biologic drug Remicade. “I still have fatigue,” he says. “I tend to stay close to my coffee and sodas, but I try not to overdo it. I really have to learn to get proper sleep and rest, which I didn’t do in my earlier life.”
Get Help With Your Disability Claim Today
Need help with your disability claim? If so, reach out to a Phoenix-based Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm today. We are prepared to represent you at every stage of the application process or the appeals process if you have already received a denial notice.
There is no risk in calling us to schedule a free, no-obligation legal consultation.
Call or complete our Free Case Review form.
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Ra Isnt Just Arthritis
Each case of chronic illness is different and often one major diagnosis comes with a lot of comorbidities, or co-occurring diseases. Since my diagnosis I have also been hit with osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, major depressive disorder, and Raynauds syndrome. Lets also not forget how the body-wide inflammation from RA can also affect major organs, not just joints. For example, heart disease and lung disease are common complications of RA.
How To Know If A Person Qualifies
The SSA classifies RA under inflammatory arthritis.
According to the SSA, to qualify for SSDI, a person living with RA needs to meet one or more of the following criteria:
- persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more of the major peripheral joints in the legs or feet that causes one of the following:
- an inability to walk
- an inability to use botharms for daily functions for work or independent living activities
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Applying For Disability With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Filing for disability with Rheumatoid Arthritisapplication for Social Security Disabilityrheumatoid arthritisThe SGA limit changes each yeardisability guidebook known as the blue bookIn the case of rheumatoid arthritis, disability examiners use impairment listing 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritisthey could be approved through a medical vocational allowanceA bit about the conditionMost popular topics on SSDRC.com
Ra Makes It Difficult To Even Fight Off Even A Cold
Because of my lowered immune system, I am more susceptible to risks of infection, such as the common cold or flu. This means I get sick a lot and it takes me longer to fight it off, on top the daily challenges of my disease symptoms. The more people I am around, the more germs Im exposed to. Be kind, get your flu shot, you never know who is at risk.
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How To Check Eligibility For Pip
You can get PIP whether you’re working or not.
Claimants must be aged 16 or over and under State Pension age to claim.
You must also have a health condition or disability where you:
- have had difficulties with daily living or getting around for three months
- expect these difficulties to continue for at least nine months
How Patients Can Get Social Security Disability For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Before they can get benefits, patients should know the difference between osteoarthritis and inflammatory, or rheumatoid, arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition that makes the joints stiff, hot, or swollen. In most cases, the symptoms start in the fingers, hands and feet. The disease then progresses to larger joints such as the shoulders and ankles and finally affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips. As the years go by, RA will often cause more and more damage to the joints, causing them to become permanently deformed.
There are many different symptoms of RA that can make it difficult for a patient to do his job. For example, nodules may appear on the fingers and toes, causing hand and foot deformities. Patients may also experience fatigue, malaise, and more frequent infections due to a compromised immune system.
You should qualify for benefits as long as the Social Security Administration believes that your RA symptoms are significantly limiting. According to the SSA, you could receive benefits if your condition:
Are you unable to work due to the pain associated with RA? You may qualify for disability benefits to supplement your loss of income. Fill out the contact link on this page to tell us more about your condition, and we will contact you shortly.
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Limitations For Specific Jobs
Your ability to work can suffer significant impact from your rheumatoid arthritis. As an example, if your joints have been attacked by RA, you may not be able to stand long periods or sit long periods because of the severe pain.
You will have to reposition yourself frequently, which can impact your ability to perform many jobs.
If different body systems have been impacted, such as your kidneys, and dialysis is necessary, you will require frequent medical visits that leave you exhausted and unable to function properly, so you cant work in a factory or a warehouse where standing for long periods is required.
Because RA can impact any joints, you may find your fingers and wrists are significantly impacted and cannot move well.
Due to limited mobility of the hands and fingers as well as the pain suffered, you may find you cannot perform fingering tasks or grasp small items, so you wont be able to perform data entry, secretarial, or product inspection duties.
Finally, if your condition has left you unable to lift, carry, or reach, you cant work retail, in shipping and receiving, in a distribution center, or as a first responder or in emergency services.
Can You Get Disability For Arthritis
The Canadian government acknowledges the severity of arthritis by qualifying severe arthritis for certain Canadian disability benefits.
The Canadian Disability Tax Credit, for example, was designed for this exact purpose: to upkeep a differently abled persons standard of living and quality of life, post-diagnosis. These disability tax refunds should relieve some of the stress of living with a physical or mental disability, allowing the person to focus on their well-being.
The National Benefit Authority works along those parameters, too: were here to alleviate the stress of your, or a loved ones, disability. We do this through our Disability Tax Credit service, created for differently-abled Canadians to easily submit and claim their deserved Canadian disability benefits.
Our specialists assist with all the leg work in the DTC application process, including helping to determine your Disability Tax Credit eligibility, completing your application , and submitting it directly to the CRA on your behalf. We find that many Canadians who qualify for disability benefits dont file a claim, either because theyre unaware of the programs, or they simply cant be bothered with the cumbersome process.
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