Inflammatory arthritis and other rheumatic conditions is the top reported reason for adult disability in the U.S. – and it has remained this way for the last 15 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Our Boston Social Security Disability Insurance attorneys are familiar with the rigorous process through which the administration puts claimants in order to prove that their case qualifies. A diagnosis alone will not be enough to cut it, which is why it’s important for arthritis sufferers to be armed with the facts and then meet with an attorney before filing a claim.
To begin, it’s important to differentiate between the two main types of arthritis because you will have a tougher time winning a case with one than the other.
The first kind is osteoarthritis. This is an extremely common joint disorder that we see a lot in older folks, affecting about 20 million people. It’s simply due to normal wear and tear. Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms, though there is a lot of research to suggest a healthy lifestyle may help improve symptoms markedly. Getting disability benefits for this condition is going to be an uphill battle, though it’s not totally impossible, depending on your age and the severity of the condition.
The second kind of arthritis is called inflammatory arthritis. This is actually an immune disorder in which the system is overactive, thereby resulting in severe joint inflammation that can cause stiffness, pain, swelling and redness. This condition can strike anyone at any age and is also more likely to affect other body systems, including major internal organs such as the heart and lungs. The three types of inflammatory arthritis are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis;
- Psoriatic arthritis;
- Anklyosing spondylitis.
Even in these cases, simply having a doctor’s diagnosis almost certainly won’t be enough to qualify you for federal benefits. The SSA’s listing requires chronic and persistent bouts of inflammation or deformities that affect numerous body systems or significantly restricted movement or other major side effects, such as major involuntary weight loss, malaise or extreme fatigue. You may also qualify if you find that your condition has significantly limited your ability to carry out daily living functions, social functions or carry out tasks in a timely or efficient manner.
The CDC reports that 42 percent of people who have an arthritis diagnosis have some significant limitation with regard to their vital functions, including walking, bending, kneeling, climbing or even just attending basic social functions.
What’s more, a 2011 study found that people who had arthritis – no matter what their age – had a far worse health-related quality of life than those who were arthritis-free. They were more than twice as likely as their counterparts to report “unhealthy days” over the past month.
The CDC reports that roughly 8 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 44 were diagnosed with arthritis. For cohorts between the ages of 45 and 64, the prevalence shot up to nearly 30 percent.
As it stands today, about 50 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis. In the next 15 years, we’re likely to see that increase by roughly 35 percent to 67 million.
If you are one of those for whom arthritis has significantly limited your ability to function and work, call us today to see about initiating a disability benefits claim.
If you are considering an SSDI claim in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
Section 14.09 Inflammatory arthritis, Social Security Administration, Disability Evaluation, Oct. 2008 Blue Book
More Blog Entries:
Boston SSDI Miscalculations Can Prompt Halt to Benefits, Feb. 7, 2013, Boston Social Security Disability Lawyer Blog