The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits to individuals in Texas who suffer from arthritis cannot work. Because claims are frequently denied, it takes an experienced disability attorney to get you the benefits you deserve.
At the Law Office of Carey Thompson, PC, our practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the disabled in El Paso and around Texas. While you may be entitled to disability benefits if you have arthritis, navigating the claims process can be complicated and confusing.
Let our experienced attorneys handle all the details so you can focus on treating your arthritis. We have in-depth knowledge of the eligibility requirements for disability benefits and what you need to prove to qualify for arthritis. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can start working on your claim. There is never a fee until we win disability benefits for you.
When Does Arthritis Qualify for Social Security Disability
The main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on ligaments between the joints over time. By contrast, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the tissue in the joints. Psoriatic arthritis is inflammatory arthritis of multiple joints that is common is in patients who have psoriasis and often resembles rheumatoid arthritis.
Regardless of the type of arthritis you have, to qualify as a disability your condition must prevent you from working. In addition, your arthritis must limit your daily activities, such as:
- Walking for an extended period of time
- Standing or sitting
- Climbing stairs
- Grasping small objects
- Raising your arms
Moreover, the eligibility requirements differ for each type of arthritis. In any event, all disability claims for arthritis must be supported by medical evidence.
Disability Benefits for Osteoarthritis
The SSA maintains a list of qualifying impairments (the Blue Book) that disability examiners use as a guide to determine whether a medical condition meets the criteria to be classified as a disability. The Blue Book lists certain back and joint conditions that may cover osteoarthritis.
For example, you may qualify if you have major dysfunction of a joint, such as the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, or wrist based on the following criteria
- Narrowing of joint spaces
- The fusing of joints (ankylosis)
- Destruction of the bone
You may also qualify for osteoarthritis of the spine if it is accompanied by:
- Compression of the nerve root
- Narrowing of the spinal canal
- Inflammation of the membrane surrounding the nerves of the spinal cord
To qualify for disability for osteoarthritis, there must be medical evidence of recurrent stiffness, joint pain, and loss of joint motion. Finally, your arthritis must make it difficult to walk without an assistive device (e.g. crutches, cane, walker) or prevent you from using your hands effectively.
Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) typically starts in the hands and feet and progresses to other parts of the body – knees, hips, and shoulders – that can lead to permanent joint damage and deformity.
The qualifications listed in the Blue Book for RA include:
- Inflammation in the joints of the leg, making it difficult to walk
- Inflammation in the joints of both arms
- Persistent inflammation and deformity of two or more major joints that affect accompanying organ systems
- Repeated flare-ups that impede your movement, social functioning, and daily life
If your symptoms don’t meet these criteria, you may still be eligible for benefits through a medical-vocational allowance. The SSA will assess your residual functional capacity (RFC) to determine
- How your RA impacts your ability to perform the daily activities mentioned above, and
- Whether your arthritis is severe enough to prevent you from working
Disability Benefits for Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can affect any joints in the body, but the hands and feet are most commonly affected. PsA causes pain and swelling of the digits, impairing the ability to grasp objects, perform movements and repetitive activities. The hips, knees, shoulders, wrists, and other joints can also be affected by PSA resulting in:
- Functional impairment
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling
- Joint deformities
- Difficulty standing, walking
- Difficulty reaching or carrying objects
To obtain disability benefits for PsA, medical records must include laboratory testing (e.g. an HLA-B27 antigen test) and radiographs and MRIs of the spine and affected joints.
Why Choose Us?
Whether you are seeking disability benefits for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, or another form of disabling arthritis, it takes an experienced Texas disability attorney to protect your rights and get you the benefits you need and deserve.
Filing a disability claim is complicated. There are several forms and questionnaires to complete and your claim will be denied if there are mistakes or omissions. Also, your claim must be supported by medical evidence, such as
- An exam history
- Lab work (e.g. blood tests, tissue specimens)
- Radiological tests (X-rays, MRIs, CT Scans)
- Results of surgeries
- Prescribed medications
- Rehabilitative care/physical therapy
- A diagnosis and prognosis of your arthritis
Our attorneys will help you navigate the claims process and work with your doctor to compile a medical record that supports your claim. We have working relationships with disability examiners that can help to expedite your claim.
Don’t worry if your claim is denied. We will handle your disability appeal and represent you at the disability hearing. Although disability claims for arthritis are frequently denied, working with an experienced lawyer increases the likelihood of being approved.
Contact Our Experienced Fort Worth Disability Attorneys
If you are suffering from debilitating arthritis, our firm is here to help you get the benefits you deserve. We understand your concerns about getting the medical treatment your need and being unable to earn a living. Our legal team will address those concerns by providing you with compassionate representation and fighting for your rights. Contact us today to get started.