Social Security disability benefits are available for individuals who are unable to work due to a qualifying medical condition. Given the fact that arthritis can be severe enough to impair a person’s ability to maintain employment, people often wonder whether this condition entitles them to benefits. Whether or not arthritis entitles one to Social Security disability benefits depends on a number of factors. Generally speaking, however, the arthritis must be severe enough to prevent an individual from performing any available work. If you suffer from arthritis and would like to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you can review the information below, and contact one of our disability law attorneys for a consultation.
To receive benefits for arthritis, you must first file an application with the Social Security Administration (SSA) which will require SSA to make a determination regarding your eligibility. Next, in reviewing your eligibility, the SSA will:
- Determine whether you are gainfully employed.
- Determine whether your arthritis is severe enough to prevent you from performing physical tasks required for working.
- Determine whether your arthritis meets its medical criteria.
It is important to know that there are various ways that individuals with arthritis may qualify, under SSA’s rules, for disability benefits. The first part of the analysis requires SSA to determine whether your conditions are severe enough to meet or medically equal the criteria of one or more designated Listings. The Listings are designed to help streamline the process allowing for an award of benefits for individuals with serious medical problems, such as debilitating arthritis that significantly limits mobility and functioning. For example, one may qualify if there is objective medical evidence, by way of an x-ray, MRI, or a CT scan, for example, that confirms arthritis with nerve root impingement, difficulty walking, and/or non-union of a major weight-bearing joint. If you would like to better understand whether a Listing may apply in your case, you will want to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you understand what is needed.
However, even if your arthritis, or other physical impairment, doesn’t reach the severity of one the Listings, you still could be found “disabled” and qualify for Social Security disability benefits, if your condition precludes you from working on a full-time basis. First, SSA will evaluate whether you can be expected to perform any type of work that you’ve performed in the past. If it’s found that you are unable to perform any of your previous jobs, the SSA will consider your level of education, your age, your previous experience, and your overall health to determine whether you can be trained to do any other kind of available work. Ultimately, if SSA finds that you are able to perform some kind of work, you will be denied Social Security Disability benefits at the initial application level.
What to do if you’re denied
If your claim is denied, you’ll have the chance to bring your case before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). During your hearing, you will be given the opportunity to explain how your arthritic condition prevents you from working. In addition, you’ll be permitted to bring witnesses who can testify on your behalf about your condition and its effect on your ability to work. Generally, there will be a vocational expert at the hearing who will be asked questions about how certain limitations might impact a person’s ability to work to help assist the ALJ in coming to their decision. An experienced, caring attorney can not only help you better understand the process but will also be by your side throughout every step from the application and/or appeal through the hearing process to cross-examine the vocational expert and present evidence and arguments on your behalf.
Let our Michigan disability law attorneys help you
If you suffer from arthritis and are in need of SSD benefits, the skilled disability law attorneys at Disability Law Group are here to help. At Disability Law Group, our experienced disability law attorneys will assist you with every step of the disability benefits application process, including compiling and submitting documentation. So, if you live in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County, or elsewhere in Michigan and suffer from chronic arthritis, Disability Law Group is on your side. Remember, at Disability Law Group, disability is all we do. Please contact our experienced disability law attorneys as soon as possible for a consultation.