Check If You Have An Impairment
You have an impairment if your physical or mental abilities are reduced in some way compared to most people. It could be the result of a medical condition – like arthritis in your hands that means you cant grip or carry things as well as other people.
An impairment doesnt have to be a diagnosed medical condition. If youre suffering from stress, you might have mental impairments – like difficulty concentrating – as well as physical impairments such as extreme tiredness and difficulty sleeping. It still has to have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Your impairment doesnt have to stop you doing anything, as long as it makes it harder. It might cause you pain, make things take much longer than they should or mean that youre unable to do an activity more than once.
Proving Youre Unable To Work Due To Arthritis
Generally, if a major joint below or above your waist causes severe pain and discomfort, that alone isnt enough. The SSA claims examiner instead wants to know things like:
Impairments Causing Joint Pain Or Joint Damage
Joint pain and loss of joint mobility may be caused by a number of disorders including:
- Traumatic damage to joints
- Neuropathic arthropathy
In all joints, osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis seen by the Social Security Administration. Osteoarthritis is also known as hypertrophic arthritis or degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis is not a systemic disease. It doesn’t affect the entire body; its effects are confined to the involved joints. Osteoarthritis is slowly progressive and starts with damage to the cartilage on opposing ends of bone inside the joint space . Any joint in the body can be involved. Heavy impact activity on joints predisposes to the development of osteoarthritis , and osteoarthritis is associated with advancing age. Trauma to a joint, such as a fracture into a joint space, is frequently followed by development of osteoarthritis.
As joint cartilage begins to soften and thin, unusual stresses are also put on the underlying joint bone. The body responds to cartilage and bone damage by trying to grow new bone. This process can lead to osteophytes around joints or in the spine, as well as narrowing of whatever joint space is involved.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune cells attack and damage the joints. The precise cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still not clear. Rheumatoid arthritis is seen 2 to 3 times as frequently in females as males. Rheumatoid arthritis often comes on gradually.
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Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments donât sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Is Arthritis A Disability
Sometimes, arthritis qualifies as a disability. It all depends on the severity and pervasiveness of the arthritis, along with what kind of medical evidence is provided and whether the person is able to work. When reviewing a claim for Social Security disability benefits related to arthritis, the Social Security Administration will consider several factors. For example, they may first look at how the type of arthritis claimed affects a claimants ability to walk. Is the arthritis in question affecting major, weight-bearing joints with enough arthritis pain and/or joint deformity that its difficult or impossible for the claimant to move about?
Those who suffer symptoms on a chronic and ongoing basis are more likely to be approved for SSDI benefits than those who suffer occasional or acute flare-ups of arthritis. For example, when considering ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies, the SSA will want to see medical imaging that documents the level of flexion of the spine to determine how the chronic condition affects the quality of life.
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What To Do If You Want To File For Disability
Its not uncommon for people with rheumatoid arthritis to seek disability. In one study, 35% of patients ended up filing for disability within 10 years of their initial diagnosis. If you are suffering from this condition or any others and are no longer able to work, there is help available. How much money youll receive is dependent on the income you received in the past.
Keep in mind, SSA disability is different than Long Term Disability , which is typically offered through an employer and often has limitations on how long you can receive benefits, where SSA does not. It is possible to receive both, however, LTD benefits can interfere with how much SSA you qualify for.
If youre ready to file for disability, the first step is to work with an attorney or disability advocate. Because the SSA application and approval process is complex and can take a long time, working with an experienced attorney can help you make sure you fully complete all the necessary steps, and they can help you file for an appeal should you need to.
At The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC, our attorneys offer skilled guidance through the SSA disability application process. We have successfully represented thousands of clients in Buffalo New York. Contact our office today;for a free consultation.
Listing 1409 Inflammatory Arthritis
If you don’t qualify for disability under any of the above listings, you may qualify under Listing 14.09, Inflammatory arthritis . To meet Listing 14.09, you must provide objective medical evidence that your arthritis has resulted in the following:
- Swelling or deformity of:
- your hip, knee or ankle joints that causes extreme interference with your ability to walk on your own, or
- your shoulder, elbow or wrist/hand that makes it difficult to take care of yourself and perform your day-to-day activities.
- Swelling or deformity of your hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, or ankle/footwith:
- associated disease in at least two of your organs or body systems, with one organ or body system affected more than minimally, and
- at least two of following: severe fatigue, malaise, weight loss, or fever.
- Ankylosing spondylitis with:
- Fixation of the lower or upper spine with extremely limited flexibility of 45
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Va Ratings For Functional Impairment Of The Thoracolumbar Spine
The rating chart for thoracolumbar spinal pain is used for primary and secondary conditions to lower back pain. The measurements used for determining compensation are as follows:
- 0 percent rating: Flexion is greater than or equal to 90 degrees, OR a combined ROM greater than or equal to 240 degrees
- 10 percent rating: Flexion between 60 and 90 degrees, OR a combined ROM between 125 and 240 degrees
- 20 percent rating: Flexion between 30 and 65 degrees, OR a combined ROM less than or equal to 120 degrees, the minimum scoliosis percent for a scoliosis VA rating.
- 30 percent rating: This rating cannot be applied to the thoracolumbar spine
- 40 percent rating: Flexion less than or equal to 30 degrees, or the entire thoracolumbar spine is stuck in a favorable position
- 50 percent rating: The entire thoracolumbar spine is stuck in an unfavorable position, also called unfavorable ankylosis of the entire thoracolumbar spine.
- 100 percent rating: The entire spine will not move and is stuck in an unfavorable position
If Youre Not Sure If Your Impairment Is Substantial Or Long Term
Get advice from your doctor or other medical professional. You could ask them to tell you:
- how long your impairment is likely to last and whether its likely to get worse
- what would happen if you stopped your medication or other treatment
- if there are any activities you should avoid
You doctor might also be able to help you prove you have a disability if you need to later on.
You can also try keeping a diary for a while – write down what you do, what you find difficult and why. This might make it clearer how much your impairment is affecting your normal day-to-day activities. Your friends and family might also be able to help you think of ways youre affected.
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Qualifying For Disability Due To Back Problems
If your back condition, as described in your treating doctor’s reports, matches an “impairment listing” in the SSA’s “blue book” of impairments, you will automatically be approved for disability benefits. This is not easy to do; only very severe and well documented cases of back pain will match the SSA’s listing for disorders of the spine. Your condition can also be considered to be equivalent to the listing for disorders of the spine, if it doesn’t match a listing exactly but it is similar and has the same level of severity. The SSA will decide with the help of a medical consultant whether your back condition is equivalent to the spinal disorders impairment listing.
There are three main categories of back problems that can qualify for disability under the SSA’s official impairment listing for disorders of the spine. The SSA specifies the symptoms and severity required to match each of these listings. Specifically, to match the listing for disorders of the spine , the SSA requires that your spinal disorder includes one of the following three conditions:
- nerve root compression
- arachnoiditis, or
The SSA notes several examples of back conditions that involve nerve root or spinal cord compression, which can cause problems from mild chronic pain to paraplegia in the worst cases:
- herniated disc
- facet arthritis, and
- vertebral fracture.
A Disability Insurance Attorney Can Help
An experienced New York long term disability insurance lawyer can make all the difference in getting your disability benefits.;You can choose to file your application or appeal on your own, but your odds of success are significantly greater when you have a knowledgeable long term disability insurance lawyer on your side. The forms provided by the insurance company are inadequate, and deliberately so. They do not have nearly enough room for you or your doctors to describe your situation completely. If you limit yourself to these pre-printed forms, the insurance company will deny your claim based on a lack of evidence.
Riemer Hess can restore some balance to the process by helping you and your doctors tell your whole story. We know what evidence the insurance company will look for; how to efficiently gather that evidence; and how to package that evidence in a way that will resonate with the insurance company.
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Arthritis And Disability Benefits
This page has been put together as a resource for people looking to find out more about the UKs Disability benefits process. You can find more information about Work and Arthritis here.
If I have arthritis, can I apply for disability benefits?
What benefits can I apply for?
2. Attendance Allowance
- Attendance Allowance is a similar benefit to PIP but applies to people over pension age who have a physical or mental disability. It has 2 levels of support depending on how much difficulty you have.
- To qualify for attendance allowance, you need to have had a disability for at least 6 months or be terminally ill.
- You can still qualify for attendance allowance if you live in a care home and pay all your costs, but not if the costs are paid for by your local authority.
- You will need to have an assessment by a healthcare professional to see if you qualify for attendance allowance, but you may not have to go to an assessment centre depending on your circumstances. An assessment may be possible by phone or by a visit by the assessor to your home.
Employment and Support Allowance
- Disability premiums are amounts of money that can be added to other benefits if you are disabled.
- There are some fairly complicated rules for deciding if you qualify for these benefits depending on who is living with you, the other benefits you receive or whether someone who looks after you is already getting an Attendance Allowance, so seek advice.
Understanding Social Security Disability For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Simply being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis does not qualify you for disability. However, if your ability to work is greatly affected or impaired by your condition, then with the proper documentation, you may be entitled to SSA disability benefits.
The exact requirements that a person must meet to qualify for disability with rheumatoid arthritis are defined by the SSA blue book under Section 14.09. In general, a person must be able to provide documentation that rheumatoid arthritis has greatly affected their joints or constitution, and this has limited their ability to perform their job.
For example, you can qualify for disability with rheumatoid arthritis if you have experienced one of the following:
- Inflammation or deformity of the major joints in your arms and legs, and it has led to an inability to walk without a walker and perform fine motor movements with your hands
- Inflammation or deformity of the major joints in your arms and legs along with two organs or body systems being moderately to severely affected, and youve experienced weight loss, fatigue, fever, and/or malaise
- Repeated flare ups with weight loss, fatigue, fever, and/or malaise, along with a limitation of daily activities, social functioning, or the ability to turn in tasks on time
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How Is Service Connection Established For Back Arthritis
However, a medical professional can examine records over time to look for joint overuse and evidence of degeneration leading up to the onset of symptoms. In this way, a service members time in service can be connected to back arthritis even if it does not show up until much later.
Symptoms that appear within one year of service may also qualify for a presumptive service connection.
Understanding Va Back Ratings
Your VA disability rating for back injury or spine injury will depend on which code the condition falls under. Diagnostic codes 5235 through 5243 of 38 CFR § 4.71a, Schedule of Ratings, Musculoskeletal System are dedicated to back and neck pain. Some of which are listed below:
Diagnostic codes 5242 and 5243 are reserved for arthritis and spinal disc conditions.
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Talk To A Disability Lawyer
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Social Security Disability Benefits And Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the leading causes of disability. How does a person suffering from arthritis qualify for Social Security disability benefits? According to Jim Allsup, the Social Security Administration uses a process called sequential evaluation to determine who will receive disability benefits. Mr. Allsup is president and CEO of Allsup Inc. Since 1984, Allsup claims his company has:
- Successfully helped over 300,000 people nationwide receive their entitled disability benefits.
- Achieved a 90% award rate.
Patients who have been helped by Allsup often suffer from rheumatic conditions and musculoskeletal diseases such as:
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If You Take Medication Or Have Treatment For Your Disability
The legal test is that you should look at the impact of your impairment without any medication or treatment. Treatment includes things like counselling as well as medication. For example if you have arthritis and use a walking stick, think about how hard it would be for you to walk without it.
If you have a sight impairment which can be cured by wearing glasses or contact lenses, youll need to think about how your day-to-day activities are affected when youre wearing them.
Social Security Disability Insurance
Social Security Disability is an insurance program paid by your FICA taxes.
All working Americans contribute 7.65 percent from every paycheck to the Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes.
Under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act, FICA taxes total 15.3 percent of your earned income. A total of 12.4 percent of your earned income is paid into Social Security, an additional 2.9 percent of your earned income is paid into Medicare. If you are an employee, you pay only half the FICA taxes , your employer pays;in;the other 7.65 percent. People who are self-employed pay in the entire 15.3 percent).
Some of that payment goes toward disability insurance coverage by the Social Security Administration. However, bureaucratic problems plaguing Social Security Administration’s Disability Insurance program often prevent;the fair;and speedy distribution of disability benefits to people who are eligible.
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