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Long-Term Swelling and Joint Tenderness

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According to the CDC, more than 50 million US citizens have arthritis. Arthritis can cause more than just pain, and it limits nearly 10 percent of adults in the United States. When left untreated, arthritis can be debilitating and cause a person to become disabled. However, even with treatment, some extreme cases can still lead to disability. It is important for individuals suffering from this condition to know all of the facts.

Long-Term Swelling and Joint TendernessWhile there are numerous forms of arthritis, the two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). OA can occur when the cartilage in the joints gets damaged through wear and tear. RA is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and can have a significant impact on a person’s joint cartilage and bones. Both types of arthritis can cause significant pain and inflammation

The Social Security Administration’s disability over 50 program helps people over the age of 50 who are disabled and in need of government benefits. The first step to participating in this program is contacting your local Social Security Office by phone or email and communicating with a representative about your needs. They can help you find out whether you may qualify for benefits, how you can apply, and any other information you may need.

Joint-Related Disabilities That May Qualify for Benefits

The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a listing of medical symptoms, conditions, and impairments related to this disease. In the Blue Book, some of the listings that relate to arthritis and other joint conditions include:

  1. Joint Dysfunction: 

Joint dysfunction can occur as a result of deformities, severe stiffness, misalignment, chronic pain, or damage to the joint. If a person who experiences joint dysfunction can no longer work because of their condition, they may be able to qualify for benefits. 

To prove the severity of your condition, you should be able to provide comprehensive medical documentation of your illness. This may include a written statement from a healthcare professional that describes how your joint dysfunction makes it difficult for you to perform basic daily tasks, such as walking, writing, grasping objects, and lifting items.

  1. Arthritis of the Spine: 

You may be able to qualify for benefits if arthritis of the spine negatively affects your daily routine. Arthritis of the spine can cause significant inflammation and limited mobility. In some cases, the spinal cord can become twisted or narrowed and cause severe back pain. If the condition prevents you from earning a living, you may be able to qualify. 

  1. You Underwent Surgery on a Weight-Bearing Joint: 

If surgery on a weight-bearing joint prevents you from working, it may be easier to secure the SSA’s approval for disability benefits. In any case, though, it is critical that you can document your medical history as evidence of your condition. 

  1. Inflammatory Arthritis: 

If you have inflammatory arthritis, you may be able to automatically qualify for benefits if the condition causes severe inflammation or deformities in your ankles, knees, elbows, or shoulders. When inflammatory arthritis prevents you from earning a living, you may be able to qualify for and receive the monetary benefits that you need.

Eligibility Criteria Basics

You can find the qualifying criteria in the Blue Book under section 14.00 Immune System Disorders. According to listing 14.09 Inflammatory arthritis, the applicant needs to meet the requirements:

  • Inflammation or deformity of peripheral weight-bearing joints: This can result in poor mobility. It can also occur in any of the peripheral joints, especially in the upper extremities.
  • This condition can also have involvement with major body organs and cause symptoms such as fever, involuntary weight loss, and malaise.

Ankylosing spondylitis or other types of spondyloarthropathies: These may involve repeated episodes of inflammatory arthritis and symptoms such as involuntary weight loss, malaise, fever, and severe fatigue. 

In addition, you may also face difficulties in performing daily tasks or fulfilling your social responsibilities. Many applicants face denials due to a lack of medical evidence, so it is essential to speak with your doctor, get all the required tests done, and have sufficient documentation to back your claim.

If You Do Not Meet the Blue Book Criteria

Do not lose hope if you do not fulfill the criteria set forth within the Blue Book, because you may still be eligible for disability benefits. However, you may need to request a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment that can prove your inefficiency to earn a living. 

A doctor needs to complete a form that explains your symptoms and how these may affect your ability to work. A robust RFC form can strengthen your application for benefits and increase your chances of getting approved.

In addition, you may have to meet many other non-medical requirements before receiving disability benefits. To be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you will need to have sufficient work credits, which you would have received from working and paying Social Security taxes. Generally, an individual usually has sufficient work credits to qualify under SSDI if they have worked for five years in the past 10 years.

If you or a loved one is facing a disabling condition, you should consider your options for pursuing disability benefits by consulting a legal professional. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your situation and help you determine whether you may qualify. They can help you complete the required paperwork and communicate with the SSA on your behalf. A legal professional can protect your rights with ease. 

Disability lawyers in Florida can help people like you navigate the complex legal system and protect the rights of the disabled. Unlike a lawyer who deals with general civil issues, a disability lawyer has the experience necessary to handle cases relating to pursuing benefits. If you or someone you know needs to hire a disability lawyer, contact a knowledgeable lawyer in your area for more information.