Is Arthritis A Disability?
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, including osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and various other forms of autoimmune disease based arthritis.
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 it. Instead, under SSA’s rules, there are basically two ways to show that your infliction 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 the 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.