This article discusses how the Social Security Administration will evaluate your claim for disability benefits based on rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disorder that typically affects the small joints in your hands and feet. Unlike the wear-and-tear damage of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity (via Rheumatoid arthritis - MayoClinic.com.)
RA is more common in women and usually develops after age 40. Treatment for RA revolves around stopping the progression of the disease and helping to reduce pain. NSAIDS, DMARDS and biologics are all options for treatment. Steroids can also be used temporarily to calm a flare but for some people steroids must be used long term to control pain and inflammation. (Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis -- Treatment).
Clients describe swelling; stiffness in the joints; nodules and fatigue. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may need to ask your doctor to run a rheumatoid factor (blood test). However, some individuals with RA and the above symptoms still test negative on blood work. Rheumatologists usually diagnosis and treat people with RA.
Also read Disability Benefits for Arthritis
The Social Security Administration evaluates claims for disability based on RA under 14.09 Inflammatory Arthritis. This listing requires loss of the ability to ambulate effectively OR perform fine and gross manipulation effectively, etc. In short, you have to have serious problems walking or using your hands. Also a combination of symptoms from your RA could meet this listing if they result in marked limitations in your daily life.
Even if you do not meet the above listing, you still may be found disabled. A combination of symptoms and side effects from your medication may eliminate work for you. Medications for RA alone can have disabling side effects.
If your Rheumatoid Arthritis is preventing you from working, apply for benefits as soon as possible and contact the Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!