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Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Considered A Disability

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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Qualify Me For Ssdi Disability Benefits

Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Be Considered a Disability?

Rheumatoid arthritis is discussed in the Social Security Administrations Blue Book listing of disabling conditions, in Section 14 under paragraph 14.09 .

It is possible to receive Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

To consider whether you meet the listing exactly , the SSA will review your medical records to see what your test results have been, including inflammation blood tests and blood antibody tests. They will also look to see whether you have chronic or repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis, among many other possible signs and symptoms. Other immune disorder listings will also be considered, to determine whether you equal another listing besides 14.09.

But remember, you dont need to exactly meet a Blue Book listing to qualify for disability benefits. Because, at the end of the day, what the SSA generally cares about most is whether or not your Rheumatoid Arthritis meets certain requirements, including:

  • That it rises to the level of a severe impairment, meaning it impacts your ability to do work
  • That it, combined with any other impairments you may have, prevent you from sustaining work
  • That it has affected you, or is expected to affect you, for at least one year .

If that is the case, then you may very well qualify for monthly disability benefits.

I Have Been Diagnosed With Rheumatoid Arthritis Can I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits Disability Insurance Benefits Or Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Have you received a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis? This is just the start. The main focus in a Social Security disability claim is usually on the symptoms you experience from rheumatoid arthritis and how those symptoms affect your ability to engage in physical and mental work-related activities eight hours per day, five days per week .

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder, which means that your bodys immune system mistakenly attacks your own tissues in this case, your joints. As a result, the lining of your joints get inflamed , causing you pain. This can also lead to damage to other parts of your body such as your bones and blood vessels, and even to organs like the lungs, heart, and skin.

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis typically include swollen, tender, and warm joints stiff joints especially in the mornings and fatigue. Joint pain usually starts with smaller joints such as in your fingers, then gradually progresses into bigger ones such as in the wrists, elbows, knees, ankles, and shoulders. Many patients also develop a fever and lose weight.

What Is A Disability

The medical definition of disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , is any condition of the mind or body that makes it harder for a person to do major activities and participate in the world around them.

A disability can affect a persons vision, hearing, movement, mental health, cognition , and/or social relationships.

A disability can be related to a variety of conditions, including:

  • Congenital conditions present at birth and that continue to affect function as a person ages
  • Progressive conditions like muscular dystrophy
  • Static conditions, such as limb loss

Many conditions that cause disability are invisible diseasesconditions with symptoms not visible to others. The physical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, and persistent fatigue, are invisible.

The impairments caused by rheumatoid arthritis can be both visible and invisible. Joint damage might be visible and evident in the hands and fingers, for example. But the effect on the quality of life cannot be seen and impacts many areas of a persons life, including their work life, social life, and family life.

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Unpredictable Nature Of Ra

One of the biggest challenges of living with RA is its unpredictable nature. Symptoms of the diseaseespecially joint pain and stiffness and chronic fatiguecan appear overnight, sometimes with no obvious triggers. These disease flare-ups make it harder to focus on career, family, a social life, and making future plans.

A 2017 report in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases finds daily and hour variations of pain, fatigue, and low mood are challenging for people living with RA. The report further notes rheumatoid arthritis is often associated with anxiety and mood fluctuations throughout a persons day.

Depression and anxiety are often related to poorly controlled pain and fatigue, and the stress of living with an unpredictable disease. Talk to your healthcare provider if you find you are struggling to cope with the effects of RA. He or she can offer treatment options or a referral to a mental health professional who can help.

Qualifying For Benefits Under The Medical Listing For Ra

Disability for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Social Security sets forth specific criteria for disability applicants with rheumatoid arthritis in its Listing of Impairments. Social Security’s medical listing for “inflammatory arthritis” is long and relatively complicated, but it offers multiple ways a disability applicant with RA can qualify under the listing. Overall, you must experience significant limitations in your abilities due to your RA to qualify for benefits under this medical listing.

Specifically, to qualify for benefits under Listing 14.09, you must meet one of the following sets of requirements:

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Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms And Treatments

RA symptoms will vary based on the stage of progression and the part of the body under attack. You might experience joint swelling and redness in the early days. This could lead to joint pain and tenderness along with additional symptoms, such as stiffness in the morning, several joints affected, dry eyes, shortness of breath, anemia and gum infection.

The treatment should be aggressive, particularly if caught in the early stages, to combat and prevent inflammation and further damage in a rapid manner. You might be prescribed various medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, inhibitors, biologics or corticosteroids. In extreme cases, you may require surgery for joint replacements, such as knee and hip replacement surgeries.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Impedes Sedentary Work

Even sedentary work can be impacted by rheumatoid arthritis. This type of work typically involves a computer, keyboard, and mouse, so fine motor skills are often used. Pain in the wrists and fingers may limit a persons ability to perform such work, so in order to qualify for SSD benefits they must show that they can no longer perform such work.

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Doctors Dont Know What Triggers The Process But Believe Several Risk Factors Are Involved:

  • Gender. Women are two to three times more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, leading researchers to believe that hormones may play a role in preventing or triggering the disease.
  • Age. RA can occur at any age, but usually begins in middle age.
  • Family history. An individual who has a family member with RA has an increased risk of developing the disease.
  • Smoking. Smoking is also associated with increased severity of RA.
  • Environment. Exposure to asbestos or silica carries increased risk.
  • Obesity.

Getting Your Information In Order

Prevalence of Functional Disability in Rheumatoid Arthritis

To make sure the process is streamlined, itâs helpful to compile your medical paperwork in advance.

This includes your date of original diagnosis, descriptions of impairments, work history, and treatments related to your RA, says Michael Parker, specialist in long-term disability for Pond Lehocky Giordano, a Philadelphia law firm that often consults on Social Security disability issues.

âIn every disability case, whether itâs with the Social Security Administration or an insurance carrier in the long-term disability realm, the adjudicator will determine the applicantâs ability to function,â he says.

âRheumatoid arthritis is a systemic condition, attacking multiple systems of the body,â he adds. âThatâs why itâs important when describing your condition to indicate how all parts of your body are affected.â

In particular, he says, document how RA is affecting your hands â which are commonly, and significantly, impacted by the condition. Most occupations require frequent use of the hands, says Parker, so this will be crucial information to convey to the adjudicator.

Itâs also helpful to specify how your legs are affected, including your knees and ankles, which can greatly affect the type of work youâre able to do.

âYou may want to take pictures of your joints to show flares, to give a better idea of what you go through as a result of the disease,â he says.

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Arthritis And The Disability Tax Credit

To be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit, a person has to be markedly restricted in one daily living task or significantly restricted in two. Arthritis often causes a person to be significantly restricted in two or more activities. For instance, a person might have mobility issues and also have difficulty dressing or eating.

While many people dont feel the effects of arthritis all the time, when flare ups occur they are painful, profound, and distracting. Considering weather provokes inflammation, it is beyond an individual to control when symptoms arise.

Many arthritis diagnoses do not restrict a person all day every day, but some, like rheumatoid arthritis, can cause immobility and markedly restrict a person. Experiencing these debilitating arthritis symptoms can qualify a person for the Disability Tax Credit.

Unfortunately, a number of people suffering from arthritis are denied the Disability Tax Credit. This is because arthritis comes in all shapes and sizes. While some people are significantly restricted, others are able to function at high capacities. Therefore, it is necessary to work with Benefit Specialists who guide the application process. They can ensure the doctor filling out the T2201 form knows how to supply information about daily troubles. This is paramount to qualifying for annual tax breaks and substantial payments.

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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Qualify For Disability

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered a disability by the SSA and you are able to get disability benefits with rheumatoid arthritis.

In order to qualify for disability benefits with rheumatoid arthritis, you need to meet the medical requirements listed in the SSAs Blue Book.

The Blue Book is the list of conditions that can qualify someone for disability benefits. When you send in your disability application, the SSA will look at your application and see if it matches with the Blue book listing for inflammatory arthritis.

While there is not exact listing for rheumatoid arthritis, you can still get disability rheumatoid arthritis if you meet the Blue Book listing for inflammatory arthritis.

The most important thing that you need to know in order to qualify for disability benefits with is to make sure that you have detailed medical records and medical history to back up your claim that you can no longer work because of your rheumatoid arthritis.

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What Are The Trends Over Time

Between 20072008 and 20162017, the age-standardized prevalence of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis increased among females and remained around 0.7% among males .

During the same time period, the age-standardized incidence of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis decreased from 1.2 to 0.9 per 1,000 persons per year in females and from 0.6 to 0.5 per 1,000 persons per year in males.

Figure 3: Age-standardizedFootnote c prevalence and incidence of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis among Canadians aged 16 years and older, by sex, Canada,Footnote d from 20072008 to 20162017

Footnote c
0.9 0.5

Can You Get A Disability For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Is rheumatoid arthritis considered a disability?

Although, there is not any particular listing specified in the blue book for Rheumatoid Arthritis disability a person can still gain the benefits if he or she meets all the medical requirements specified for inflammatory arthritis. Some of the requirements are:

  • A claimant must have his detailed medical records
  • A claimant must be able to show the medical history needed to prove the disability claim and
  • A claimant must prove that he or she is not able to work owing to rheumatoid arthritis.

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How Much Does Disability Pay For Rheumatoid Arthritis

January 20, 2022 by Brad Collins

If youre living with rheumatoid arthritis and unable to work, you may consider filing for Social Security Disability benefits. There are two primary programs: Social Security Disability Insurance which is work-credit based and Supplemental Security Income which is needs-based. The amount you receive in disability benefits depends on which program you qualify for.

What Are Social Security Disability Benefits

These monthly payments are provided to people who cant work because of a medical condition thats expected to last for at least one year or result in death. In order to qualify, you must prove youre too disabled to work and that youve been employed long enough to acquire a certain number of Social Security work credits.

The number of credits you need to qualify for disability varies by the age you became disabled you can see the requirement amounts here.

How much youll receive each month is determined by your earnings history. According to the SSAs monthly statistical snapshot, the average monthly benefit is $1,301.59.

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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.

What Are The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Work Disability and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The main symptom of RA is inflammation of the joints, often beginning with those in the hands and wrists. If you have RA, you might exhibit several or all of the following symptoms:

  • Stiffness in the joints and/or muscles, which generally is present in the morning when you arise. The stiffness may continue for hours before eventually subsiding.
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth in the joints.
  • Pain in the affected joints, which can spread to the hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows.
  • Fatigue, elevated temperature, and loss of weight.
  • Rheumatoid nodules, or firm bumps of tissue that can appear under the skin on your arms.

Many people with RA find that these symptoms may come and go. When the disease progresses to more serious stages, though, the joints can sustain damage that causes them to shift and become deformed.

If RA has forced you to reduce your hours at work or even quit your job, you may want to consider getting help from the Social Security disability system. Unfortunately, sometimes applying for Massachusetts SSA disability benefits can be complicated and confusing.

As New England SSA disability experts, Keefe Disability Law can provide the advice and legal expertise you need to get your questions answered and file a successful claim. Call us toll free today or fill out the confidential form on this page to see the many ways we can help you.

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Paying For Your Medicines

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you’re likely to need repeat prescriptions of medicine to keep your condition under control.

Rheumatoid arthritis is not listed as a medical condition that entitles a person to free prescriptions in England.

But you may be able to get your medicine for free if your condition falls under the category of “a continuing physical disability which means the person cannot go out without the help of another person”.

You’re also entitled to free prescriptions if you’re 60 or over, or if you receive either:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

If you are not entitled to free prescriptions, you may find it cheaper to buy a prescription prepayment certificate .

This is effectively a prescription “season ticket” that covers all your prescriptions over a 3- or 12-month period.

Read more about help with prescription costs to see if you’re entitled to free prescriptions.

Further information

How Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Impact Your Ability To Work

Depending on how severe the rheumatoid arthritis is, there may be a wide range of work limitations because of it.

Early rheumatoid arthritis often tends to affect the joints in the hands, which could cause limitations in work whether you work a physical labor job or a job that is more sedentary in nature.

Your rheumatoid arthritis could make it more difficult to grab objects, like if you work constructions and have to life heavy objects or if you work in an office setting, it could make it difficult to control your computer mouse.

If you find that your rheumatoid arthritis is making your normal day to day tasks much more difficult than what it was before your diagnosis, you should see what kinds of restrictions you have in place.

More severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis tend to affect joints all around the body, such as the knees, elbows, hips and shoulders.

The more severe your rheumatoid arthritis is, the more likely it is that you cannot perform the same basic functions of your job.

If you have a more advanced case of rheumatoid arthritis that is affecting multiple areas of the body, it could make the simple tasks of getting in and out of your chair even much more difficult.

There may be more strict work limitations with rheumatoid arthritis if your case is severe enough.

If you feel like you can no longer work for at least 12 months because of your rheumatoid arthritis, you be able to qualify for disability benefits.

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