Living with the physical and emotional pain of a long-term disability is difficult enough without the financial concerns that come along with it. People who are disabled and cannot work due to their disability often face mounting medical bills and an inability to pay for basic necessities like housing and food. These individuals want to work, but the limitations caused by their disability makes it impossible for them to complete job tasks. Fortunately, social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits are available to those who qualify.
SSDI is an insurance program that is managed by the federal government and funded through paycheck deductions. People who qualify for these benefits must have worked in the past, and the exact number of years that a person must work in order to qualify depends on the individual’s age. Unlike other types of assistance, SSDI benefits are directly funded by the people who will by filing for these benefits in the case that they become disabled. In other words, applicants for SSDI benefits have earned the benefits for which they are applying.
What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?
Ankylosing spondylitis is an arthritic condition that causes inflammation along the spine. If left untreated, the condition can cause the vertebrae to fuse together. When the vertebrae fuse, a person’s posture becomes hunched forward. Depending on the severity of these complications, crowding in the ribs can make it difficult for a person with ankylosing spondylitis to breathe.
Inflammation is not always limited to the spine. Some people who have ankylosing spondylitis also experience inflammation around the eyes. The condition most commonly affects men, and symptoms are first noticed in early adulthood. Stiffness in the back and hips is often the first sign of the inflammatory disease, and the pain and stiffness that occurs is more prevalent during periods of inactivity. People who have this condition may find that their symptoms are worse when getting out of bed in the morning. If inflammation occurs around the eye, symptoms including blurred vision, red eye and sensitivity to light may develop.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a progressive disease that cannot be cured. However, there are treatment options available to alleviate pain and prevent vertebrae from fusing together. Anti-inflammatory drugs are used to control inflammation and reduce pain. If anti-inflammatory medications are not effective, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers may be used. These medications are injected under the skin and have been shown to reduce pain, swelling and stiffness in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
Since inactivity can exasperate the complications of ankylosing spondylitis, physical therapy may be prescribed. Some people are able to lessen pain and inflammation by staying active throughout the day and limiting periods of inactivity whenever possible.
Getting Disability Benefits for Ankylosing Spondylitis
People who have a severe limitation in range of motion due to their condition may qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) dictates that a person must have a fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine that is measured at 45 degrees during a physical examination. People who have a fixation measured at 30 degrees may qualify if one or more organs are affected by the condition. Since these determinations are made based on medical evidence, it is essential for people with this condition to seek medical treatment from a licensed professional.
Applying for SSDI benefits is a confusing and difficult process for those who are not familiar with the SSA’s requirements. Many first-time applications are denied due to lack of medical evidence of disability or errors made on the required forms. The best way to reduce the frustration associated with applying for SSDI benefits is to consult with an experienced attorney. Legal professionals who are knowledgeable when it comes to the SSDI application process can help their clients gather information and file paperwork in a timely manner. The first step is to schedule a consultation.