Can I Get Disability Benefits for My Arthritis?
Arthritis, or inflammation in the joints, can be extremely painful and cause swelling and redness in the affected areas. People with arthritis may not be able to enjoy activities they once did or even perform basic everyday tasks. This can affect a person’s social and job performance.
Arthritis can be caused by a number of medical conditions, including bone fractures, bacterial infections, age, obesity and autoimmune disorders. There are two types of arthritis: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both can be debilitating, and as a result can qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration has a rigorous process to determine who qualifies for benefits, however, so it’s often useful to have a California disability lawyer represent you to increase your chances of success.
How to Qualify For Benefits
The SSA follows a lengthy procedure in order to decide if a person’s arthritis qualifies for disability benefits. If you are trying to qualify, you will have to do the following:
- Prove that you are working below the substantial gainful activity level, which for 2015 was $1,090 or more per month. If the SSA determines that you are making $1,090 or more per month, you will not be eligible for disability benefits.
- Prove that your arthritis has been or is expected to last at least one year and that your condition is severe enough that it compromises your ability to do your job.
- Your arthritis must meet at least one of the conditions listed in the SSA’s official list of disabilities. There are four separate listings that relate to arthritis.
If your arthritis has caused serious dysfunction in your joints that has resulted in a deformity, like a shortened joint or misalignment, and you have pain and stiffness that doesn’t allow you to use the joint properly, you may qualify for benefits. You will need to have X-rays taken to prove this, and the deformity must occur in either:
- The knee, ankle or hip, resulting in difficulty walking
- The shoulder, elbow, hand or wrist, resulting in difficulty holding a pen or typing