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Arthritis: How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

Arthritis is inflammation in one or more joints resulting in pain and restrictive movement. Arthritis can affect numerous areas, including the hands, elbows, shoulders, neck, back, hips, knees, and feet. There are multiple types of arthritis including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis occurs after cartilage deteriorates in between joint spaces. This is commonly referred to as bone-on-bone arthritis and is most widely identified by X-rays. Rheumatoid arthritis is linked to an autoimmune disorder that affects the synovium of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is classified via bloodwork and having an abnormal ANA factor. Rare cases of arthritis can be caused by an infection and are diagnosed with septic arthritis.

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The most common symptoms of arthritis include crepitus, limited range of motion, pain, stiffness, and swelling. Arthritis can cause difficulty going up and down stairs, opening jars, buttoning clothes, writing, typing, and bending. Arthritis can be caused by past trauma or normal degradation with age. Developing arthritis in the back and shoulder can lead to other severe medical conditions such as nerve impingement and rotator cuff damage.

Social Security does not directly address arthritis in their medical listings, but they do consider some types of arthritis. With proper medical evidence, anyone that meets the definition of a listing will be granted Social Security benefits. Arthritis can cause impairments severe enough to meet the definition of listings under 1.00 Musculoskeletal System and list 14.00 mentions septic and inflammatory arthritis. To qualify under listing 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis, a claimant must demonstrate a persistent inflammation or deformity that results in the inability to effectively ambulate, inability to perform the subtle and gross movement with the upper extremity, or prove ankylosing spondylitis or spondyloarthropathy that severely limits motion of the cervical spine.

Premier Disability Services, LLC has extensive experience assisting claimants who have arthritis obtain Social Security Disability benefits.  If you have arthritis and you are unable to work, please contact our office for a free evaluation.