People who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are often debilitated by the pain and inflammation that are indicative of this autoimmune disease. Even when the symptoms are treated, the swelling of the joints can lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Often people with RA cannot continue to work because of the pain that they experience on a daily basis. When the pain of RA gets this bad, sufferers can look into obtaining disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Qualifying for Benefits with RA
The SSA has specific criteria for applicants who have RA. The qualification list for the condition is extensive and complicated. In summary, to be eligible for disability benefits someone with RA must have significantly limited abilities due to the symptoms. Further, one of the following criteria must be met to qualify for benefits:
– RA is present in a joint in the legs, causing significant difficulties with walking
– RA symptoms affect joints in both arms, preventing both large movements and small manipulations
– RA has caused inflammation or permanent deformity in at least one major joint and the affectation of at least two organs or body systems. At least two of these four symptoms must be present: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, involuntary weight loss
– The RA has caused Ankylosing spondylitis or spondyloarthropathy, including a 45-degree fixation of the spine
– The RA has caused Ankylosing spondylitis or spondyloarthropathy including a 30-degree fixation of the spine and involvement of at least two body systems
– There are repeated flare-ups of the RA with at least two of the symptoms mentioned above that cause limitations in daily living activities, social functioning, or the ability to complete tasks
Qualifying for benefits with Medical Vocational Guidelines
Someone who does not qualify under the criteria listed above there is still a possibility of being awarded benefits. The SSA can assign a Residual Functioning Capacity (RFC) designation. This designation limits the type of job someone afflicted with RA can do. For example, one might be limited to a job that does not require standing for more than 30 minutes. If a person cannot complete reasonably similar work with the RFC distinction, he or she may be eligible for disability benefits.
Required Medical Evidence
Someone applying for disability due to RA must provide medical evidence to the SSA. Acceptable documentation includes the following:
– Medical records
– Laboratory results
– A questionnaire filled out by a doctor
Additional information that is needed before disability benefits can be approved include:
– A diagnosis of RA
– A doctor’s note indicating frequency and severity of symptoms
– Blood test results indicating likelihood of RA
– History of treatments and the results
– Other test results such as those that measure range of motion
If you think you qualify for disability benefits due to RA, your next step is to contact a Social Security Lawyer, who can counsel you through the process. Liner Legal is a top Social Security law firm serving the Cleveland, Ohio area. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
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