A man sitting on a couch holding his knee due to arthritis pain.

Arthritis is an extremely painful condition that affects the joints, the tissues that surround joints, and other connective tissues throughout the body. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout. With nearly 60 million adults and hundreds of thousands of children affected, it’s the nation’s number one cause of disability.

There are over 100 types of arthritis and related conditions that damage joints and even organs. Arthritis can lead to disability when pain and other symptoms hinder your ability to function in everyday life. This includes your ability to perform basic work tasks.

If you’re unable to work because of the physical limitations caused by arthritis, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Can Arthritis Qualify for Disability?

Arthritis is recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as a qualifying condition for disability benefits. The Blue Book catalogs qualifying conditions and their associated medical criteria.

In the Blue Book, the SSA evaluates “disorders of the skeletal spine (vertebral column) or of the upper or lower extremities that affect musculoskeletal functioning…” in Section 1.00, Musculoskeletal Disorders. Arthritis is mentioned specifically under sections 1.15 and 1.18. Examples include spinal osteoarthritis (spondylosis), facet arthritis, and osteoarthritis.

Various forms of arthritis are also mentioned under Section 14.00, Immune System Disorders, most notably under Section 14.09, which covers inflammatory arthritis.

The Most Common Types of Arthritis

As stated above, the Arthritis Foundation lists osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout as the 5 most common types of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis is a long-term condition primarily affecting major joints, such as the knees, hips, and spine. The disease wears away the cartilage that covers the ends of bones, leading to a reduction in the space between joints. It can also result in the growth of excess bone and bone spurs. While it commonly develops with age, it can also affect younger individuals due to injury or excessive use.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation of the linings of the joints. This causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and can potentially lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. It can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, and blood vessels. It’s a chronic and progressive disease, meaning it can worsen over time.
  • Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune disease that combines the skin symptoms of psoriasis with joint inflammation. Psoriatic arthritis causes joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of motion. It can affect any joint in the body and varies in severity. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause spondylitis and inflammation in areas where tendons and ligaments attach to bones (enthesitis).
  • Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue and sleep, memory, and mood issues.
  • Gout is characterized by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joints, leading to pain and inflammation. Pain often starts in the big toe but can travel to other joints like the ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. Gout may lead to persistent discomfort, with joints feeling sore and tender even between flare-ups. Over time, it can result in poor joint mobility, deformity, and damage.

What If My Condition Isn’t in the Blue Book?

Many types of arthritis can qualify for disability benefits. Unfortunately, most are not listed in the Blue Book. However, it’s important to note that meeting a specific listed impairment is not a strict requirement for benefit approval.

If your condition isn’t listed in the Blue Book, you can still apply for disability benefits. You have to prove that your medical condition significantly limits your ability to work to be considered eligible.

You can apply for either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) with arthritis.

Qualifying For Social Security Disability Benefits With Arthritis

To be eligible for disability benefits with arthritis, you must provide the SSA with medical documentation demonstrating the severity of your condition. This evidence must support the claim that your arthritis prevents you from performing Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA).

Medical evidence that can be used to substantiate your claim includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Detailed clinical history and exam findings that document the extent and severity of your condition.
  • Imaging reports (e.g., X-rays or CT scans) showing joint damage, inflammation, or other relevant abnormalities.
  • Laboratory test results indicating inflammation or specific markers related to arthritis.
  • Treatment records, including medications prescribed, doses, responses to treatment, and any side effects experienced.
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation records demonstrating the extent of mobility and functional limitations.
  • Specialist evaluations from rheumatologists or other relevant healthcare professionals providing expert opinions on the condition.
  • Operative reports if surgery was performed in relation to the condition.
  • Documentation of any comorbid conditions that compound the disability, such as depression or cardiovascular disease.

Contact Our Disability Attorney: We Can Help You Qualify For Disability Benefits

Navigating the complexities of Social Security Disability claims for arthritis can be challenging. Understanding how to prove your condition meets the criteria in the Blue Book is crucial for a successful outcome.

For those wondering, “Can you get Social Security Disability for psoriatic arthritis?” or “Does osteoarthritis qualify for disability?” the answer is yes. With the right medical evidence demonstrating how your arthritis limits your ability to work, you can qualify for benefits. This fact remains true for anyone with any form of arthritis or other disabling condition.

At the Patrick J. Kelly Law Office, we assist individuals with filing claims for arthritis and other disabilities. We work to ensure the SSA fully recognizes the negative impacts your condition has on your daily life.

Reach out to us for guidance and support for handling the disability application process. Our Disability Lawyer Patrick Kelly has 30 years’ worth of experience helping disabled people obtain the benefits they deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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