More than 40 million adults in the US suffer from debilitating arthritis. If you’re one of them you may be able to receive Social Security disability benefits to help cover living expenses when you cannot work because of your arthritis. The only requirement that you need to meet in order to file a Social Security disability claim is that you need to expect to be unable to work for at least 12 months. If your arthritis makes it difficult for you to perform tasks like holding a pen, gripping a phone, sit for long periods of time or stand comfortably you can get Social Security disability benefits so that you can pay your rent or mortgage and other living expenses.
Qualifying for Social Security Disability Benefits with Arthritis
The requirements that you must meet in order to be approved for disability benefits for arthritis are listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, which is the official listing of all conditions that qualify for benefits. Arthritis is listed under immune system disorders and in order to qualify for benefits your arthritis must meet at least one of these requirements:
- Cause persistent inflammation or deformity of your major joints,
- Cause inflammation or deformity of your joints along with organ systems,
- Cause an inflammation or deformity of the spine and/or its surrounding organs, or
- Cause repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis which limit your movement, social functioning, and daily life.
In order to be approved for Social Security disability benefits, the arthritis must be severe enough to impact your day to day life. You will also need to provide medical documentation and other documentation showing that your arthritis is severe.
Medical Vocational Allowance
If you have arthritis and cannot work but your arthritis doesn’t exactly meet the requirements in the Blue Book you can still receive benefits if you apply for a Medical Vocational Allowance. In order to get a Medical Vocational Allowance, you should fill out the application for Social Security disability benefits but ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation. A Residual Functional Capacity evaluation will determine if there is any type of work that you can do with the limitation of your arthritis and the skills you have. If the RFC finds that there is no type of work that you can do then you can be approved for Social Security disability benefits even if you don’t meet the Blue Book criteria for arthritis.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits
If your arthritis makes it tough for you to type and you can’t apply online for Social Security disability benefits you can make an appointment at your local Social Security Administration office to fill out the application in person. An SSA employee can help you fill out the application or you can bring a friend, spouse, caregiver, or family member with you to the SSA office so that they can help you fill out the application. Make sure that you bring all of your medical documentation to submit with your Social Security disability claim also.
- Arthritis: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/disability-pay/arthritis
- SSA’s Blue Book: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/AdultListings.htm
- Medical Vocational Allowance: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/glossary/medical-vocational-allowance
- Residual Functional Capacity: https://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org/how-to/how-to-file-the-residual-functional-capacity-rfc-form
- Apply: https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/
- Local SSA Office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp