Arthritis can be considered a disability if it significantly impacts a person’s ability to perform essential job tasks or daily activities. The determination often depends on the severity of symptoms and their impact on functionality.

How To Get Disability Benefits For Arthritis?

To get disability benefits for arthritis, you must demonstrate that your condition meets the eligibility criteria mentioned in the Social Security Administration (SSA) Blue Book. This involves providing medical evidence, such as doctor’s reports, imaging results, and other documentation, to show the severity of your arthritis and its impact on your ability to work. 

Consulting with a disability attorney can also help navigate the application process and improve your chances of approval. (Get more information on what disability lawyers do?)

If your arthritis disability belongs to the “musculoskeletal disorders” group

The Social Security Administration (SSA) assesses arthritis-related disability based on your ability to use both your upper and lower body. This physical limitation must have persisted or be expected to persist for at least 12 consecutive months. When applying for disability benefits, consider and answer questions about the nature of your pain, its triggers, and the impact on daily activities like standing and walking. 

The SSA also examines whether modifications are needed in your living environment and if you require assistance with daily tasks. It’s crucial to differentiate between your capabilities at home versus in a work environment and provide medical evidence supporting your limitations. 

The use of assistive devices and the extent of disability in utilizing both the upper and lower body for work-related activities are also key factors in the evaluation process.

If your impairment is related to the immune system disorders group:

To qualify for disability benefits due to inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, you must demonstrate persistent inflammation or deformity in peripheral joints, hindering your ability to work. Alternatively, you may qualify if you experience inflammation or deformity, constitutional symptoms (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and weight loss), and multiple organ complications. 

Conditions like ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies are also considered. For repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis, you need two constitutional symptoms and limitations in daily activities, social functioning, or timely task completion. Providing evidence of these criteria is crucial when applying for Social Security disability benefits.

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a term used to describe inflammation of the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased joint mobility. There are various types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, each with its causes and symptoms. It can affect people of all ages and impact daily activities and quality of life.

Categories of Arthritis

Arthritis can be categorized into several types, each with its characteristics and causes. Some common categories of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type and occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of bones wears down over time.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, leading to inflammation.
  • Psoriatic arthritis: A type of arthritis that affects some individuals with psoriasis, causing joint pain and inflammation.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: A type of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine, causing stiffness and pain.
  • Gout: A form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to sudden and severe pain.
  • Lupus arthritis: Joint pain and stiffness can be associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), an autoimmune disease.

What Should You Do If Your Arthritis Disability Meets The Eligibility Criteria?

When seeking disability benefits for arthritis, you’ll likely apply for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

SSDI considers your work history, while SSI is based on income. It’s crucial to apply even if you’re uncertain about meeting all medical requirements. 

Honesty in the application process is essential, and applying allows the Social Security Administration to evaluate your eligibility based on your unique circumstances.

What Should You Do If Your Disability Does Not Meet The SSA’s Eligibility Criteria?

Meeting every specific criterion outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for arthritis can be challenging. Still, it’s crucial to emphasize the severity of your condition’s impact on your ability to work. Even if you believe you don’t meet all the criteria, it’s recommended that you apply. 

You can appeal if your initial application is denied, which is common for many applicants. The appeal process allows you to present your case before a judge, significantly increasing your chances of approval; almost half of applicants are approved at this stage. 

How Much Is a Disability Check For Arthritis?

As of October 2023, the average disability payment for arthritis was $1,665.14. If you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you could receive up to $3,627 per month, while Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offers a maximum of $914 per month in 2023. These amounts vary based on factors like work history and income sources.

Tips When Applying For Disability With Arthritis

  • Document Your Symptoms: Keep a detailed record of your arthritis symptoms, including pain levels, swelling, and limitations in your daily activities.
  • Medical Records: Ensure your medical records are up-to-date and clearly outline the severity and impact of your arthritis on your ability to work.
  • Work with Your Doctor: Communicate openly with your doctor about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. A supportive medical opinion can strengthen your case.
  • Follow Treatment Plans: Adherence to prescribed treatments and medications demonstrates your commitment to managing your condition.
  • Be Honest and Complete: When filling out your disability application, provide accurate and thorough information. Don’t downplay the impact of your arthritis on your life.

How Can a Disability Attorney Guide You?

A Social Security Disability Lawyer can guide you through the complex process of applying for disability benefits with arthritis. They will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case, helping you understand your chances of approval.

Furthermore, they will ensure that all relevant medical records and evidence are properly gathered and presented to support your disability claim