Arthritis can cause serious, chronic pain in the joints that is exasperated by some types of physical activity. An individual who suffers from severe arthritis may be unable to work due to pain associated with completing work tasks.

What is Arthritis

Arthritis is a type of joint disorder characterized by pain, stiffness and inflammation in the affected parts of the body.  There are many different forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and various other forms of autoimmune disease based arthritis.

Determining Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes that arthritis can be a disabling condition.  However, SSA will not automatically find you disabled simply because you suffer from this condition or you can show that you have been diagnosed with arthritis.  Instead, under SSA’s rules there are basically two ways to show that your arthritis is disabling.

Option #1:  Meet or Equal a Medical Listing

SSA’s medical listings are essentially a way to screen out and quickly approve the strongest and most clear cut disability cases.  However, this means that it is also the hardest and least likely way to win for most people.

Depending on the exact diagnoses, symptoms, and other medical evidence involved, arthritis could match one of several possible medical listings in the Immune System Disorders or Musculoskeletal Disorders categories.  Don’t worry if you can’t satisfy the strict requirements of the listings.  It is much easier to prove disability through Option #2 below.

Option #2: Show Inability to Sustain Full Time Work

Most people who are awarded disability benefits do not meet or equal a medical listing.  Instead, they win by essentially showing that their condition prevents them from doing a full time job on a long term basis.  However, SSA will not just take your word for it that you cannot work.  SSA will want to see medical evidence showing that your condition is long term, severe, and debilitating.  SSA will also take into account factors like your age, education, and past work experience in deciding whether you meet this standard.  For example, it is easier to win disability benefits based on arthritis when you are fifty years old or older than when you are younger.

To discuss SSD and SSI claims or appeals, please call us at (215) 464-7200 or email the attorneys of Chermol & Fishman, LLC. The initial consultation is free, and we never charge a fee until we win your case.