Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the membranes surrounding their joints. This causes them to become inflamed. RA is most common among women, those between the ages of 40-60, smokers, and those with a family history of RA. If you have rheumatoid arthritis there may come a time when you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
In fact, that day may come earlier than you think. One study found that more than a third of those with rheumatoid arthritis were forced to stop working ten years after their diagnosis. This “decision” to stop working can be both difficult, and emotional. And the process of obtaining disability benefits can be challenging. There are strict standards required by the Social Security Administration to qualify for benefits, and you and your doctor will be required to provide a lot of information to prove you can no longer work.
At What Point Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Prevent a Person from Working?
While moderate or even mild rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can make certain tasks and activities more challenging, the symptoms must be very severe in order to qualify for disability benefits. Your ability to do basic work (lifting, standing, walking, and remembering) must be significantly limited from your rheumatoid arthritis.
Not only do these symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis have to be severe enough to prevent you from performing your job, they have to be severe enough to prevent you from performing any job. In other words, if you have other job skills, or if you are young enough to learn new job skills, SSA may deny your claim even though you cannot perform your current job.
How Can Your Rheumatologist Help the Process of SSDI Benefits?
As a part of your SSDI application process, your rheumatologist will be required to supply a significant amount of evidence in the form of X-rays, MRIs, bloodwork, and clinical exam results. The SSA will also require a history of medications and therapies you have tried—along with the results and your medical history that clearly shows how long you have had rheumatoid arthritis, and how the disease has progressed over time.
Any other objective information that will help support your claim for SSDI can help make your case with SSA. Examples of this objective information could include photos of affected body parts, a physical capacities evaluation from a physical therapist or vocational specialist, or a comprehensive log kept by you regarding your capacity to perform the physical tasks associated with your work.
The Best Way to Be Approved for SSDI Benefits if You Have RA
Being approved for SSDI benefits can be difficult, no matter the medical condition. There are certain things you can do to make approval for your SSDI benefits much more likely, including:
- First, always work with an experienced disability attorney—whether you are just starting the process with an initial application or have progressed to the appeal phase. Attorneys who work with SSDI cases on a regular basis usually know the judges and adjudicators in the system, improving your chances of a successful claim. Since the rules and regulations have become more and more complex over the years, it simply makes sense to have an experienced legal advocate by your side, fighting for your rights and your future.
- Ensure the story you are telling the SSA regarding your rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and difficulties is the same story your medical history, chart, and doctor’s notes will tell. Making sure your stories are in tune with one another builds credibility and gives you a better chance for a successful outcome. It is particularly important that your rheumatologist writes down in your medical records all the things you relay to him or her that you are no longer able to do.
- Consider a psychological evaluation. Often, those with severe arthritis experience depression and anxiety which also limits their ability to work. If this is true in your case, a psychological evaluation can help you obtain the benefits you deserve for your rheumatoid arthritis.
- Make sure you are in full compliance with your doctor’s treatment orders. This is extremely important—if your doctor tells you to follow a certain treatment protocol, it is imperative that you do so, because it shows SSA that you are doing what you can to get better.
If you are filing for SSDI due to rheumatoid arthritis, make sure you have an experienced SSDI attorney by your side and that you carefully follow all SSDI rules.
Contact Our Virginia Social Security Disability Law Firm Today
Did your Social Security disability claim get denied? If so, we can help. At Cervoni Disability Law PLLC, we work with our clients to help them collect the disability benefits they need and deserve. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you may find it even more complicated to receive an SSDI approval. We can guide you through this complex process and ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
We work exclusively on Social Security disability claims. Contact Cervoni Disability Law PLLC for a free consultation at 703-241-2625 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit our website at www.cervonidisabilitylaw.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.