Rheumatoid arthritis is when body's defense mechanism gets upset and starts targeting the joint linings of own body. This may result in muscle and bone deformity, particularly targeting both knees, wrists and both hands. It also affects the skin, heart, lungs, eyes, blood or nerves. It can also cause bone erosion, making it impossible to carry out routine work.
How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Qualify for Disability?
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms start from painful, tender joints and swelling which usually originates from fingers and toes. Overtime, it could cause deformity and an inability to work since the joint pain can not only affect wrists and knees, but also hips and shoulders. While there is no diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis like other disability diseases, you're still able to qualify for disability benefits.
How to Qualify for Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The SSA disability examiner looks at your medical condition to evaluate the severity of your disability. In short, your disease must be disabling enough to prevent you from working under substantial gainful activity and earn a monthly income below the threshold amount. With that said, disability benefits are not a income based benefits solely. In fact, it is a transparent, needs-based system in which both medical and financial points are considered for a final grant of the disability benefits. Therefore, you must ensure the following steps carefully to qualify for disability benefits for rheumatoid arthritis:
Step I: Ensure Your Medical Record is Detailed and Maintained
Rheumatoid arthritis develops progressively. Therefore, your disability examiner must know how it has worsened over time. Hence, you must have all consecutive medical records, from a formal diagnosis, doctor's statement, including the starting date of your disease's onset, also medical documents indicating you have sought repeated treatments to treat the symptoms. In addition, your medical records must also show that you have followed the prescribed treatments thoroughly.
Step II: Make Sure Your Work Record Clearly Establishes Your Physical Limitations
According to the SSA, people can carry out certain types of work i.e., skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled work, depending on which you may qualify for certain disability benefits amount.
With that said,it need not be iterated that some people can still enjoy working throughout their live with mild to medium symptoms, not inhibiting their work activity. While others can not as much as take a bath themselves, let alone manage physical activity at work. That is, some rheumatoid patients can continue to perform strenuous and demanding physical job duties, many cannot continue to do sedentary work after a particular time period.
"Some rheumatoid patients can continue to perform strenuous and demanding physical job duties, many cannot continue to do sedentary work after a particular time period."
Hence, in order to be approved for SSDI benefits, you must make sure your medical records, work history, employer testimonial, doctor's statement, homecare worker's testimonials, etc clearly show you're no longer able to keep a stable sedentary job. You can document specific symptoms and job duties that may answer your disability examiner's queries:
- -Reports completed by your doctor;
- -Answers in the disability application;
- -Statements from former employers;
- -Work records such as attendance documents, performance evaluation, etc;
Lastly, while there is no clear diagnosis for rheumatoid arthritis, you can still qualify for disability straight away if you meet the Blue Book requirements for inflammatory arthritis.
For further enquiries you can contact us at Law Office of Irene Ruzin for legal help regarding your disability application.