Osteoarthritis, also known as “degenerative arthritis,” is a chronic joint disorder affecting millions of people in the United States and worldwide. It predominantly occurs in older adults and can cause debilitating effects, including intense pain, stiffness, and limited motion making it difficult to perform everyday activities.
If your joint pain significantly hampers your ability to work and impacts your quality of life, you could meet the qualifications for Social Security Disability. Our law firm helps individuals navigate the challenges of obtaining disability benefits due to medical conditions like osteoarthritis. Contact us for a free consultation, or continue reading to learn more.
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis can cause a range of symptoms.
While each individual’s experience may vary, here are common symptoms associated with osteoarthritis:
- Joint pain: Osteoarthritis typically causes pain in the affected joints, which can be mild to severe. The discomfort may worsen with movement and activity.
- Stiffness: Joints affected by osteoarthritis can become stiff, especially after long periods of inactivity or upon waking up.
- Reduced range of motion: As the condition progresses, the range of motion in various joints may become limited, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
- Swelling: Inflammation can lead to swelling around the affected joints, causing discomfort and making the joint appear larger than usual.
- Crepitus: Osteoarthritis can lead to a crackling or grating sensation within the joint during movement, known as crepitus.
- Tenderness: The deteriorating joints may feel tender when pressure is applied or touched.
- Muscle weakness: Osteoarthritis-related pain and reduced joint mobility can lead to muscle weakness in the surrounding area.
- Joint deformities: In advanced cases, osteoarthritis can lead to joint deformities, such as the development of bone spurs or changes in joint shape.
It’s important to note that osteoarthritis symptoms can vary depending on the location of the affected joints. While osteoarthritis commonly affects weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips, and spine, it can also impact joints in the hands, fingers, and toes.
Offsetting the Financial Impact of Osteoarthritis-Related Joint Pain
Osteoarthritis is an incurable condition that can significantly impact your ability to perform daily tasks and maintain gainful employment. You may need assistive devices, physical therapy, and major joint reconstructive surgery in severe cases.
Fortunately, options are available for those suffering from this painful condition. In some circumstances, people with osteoarthritis may be eligible for disability benefits, which can reduce the cost of any necessary treatment or home or workplace adaptations.
Does the SSA list Osteoarthritis as a Qualifying Condition?
There is no direct listing for osteoarthritis, but is directly related to several listings, so you may qualify for benefits.
While osteoarthritis symptoms can be considered when applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), individuals with this condition could face certain obstacles. Meeting the qualifying thresholds for severity can be difficult, and other issues could prevent someone from obtaining those benefits.
In disability cases based on osteoarthritis, the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates claims based on the claimant’s symptoms, limitations, and other factors.
A Physician’s Assessment Can Help Determine Whether You Meet the Criteria
A qualified doctor can determine whether or not a person meets the requirements for disability benefits by learning more about these activities and how the person’s diagnosis and prognosis limit them.
The Right Documentation Is an Important Part of Your Claim
To qualify for disability due to osteoarthritis, the affected individual must be able to provide documentation of their condition and how it affects them. This includes medical records, doctor’s notes, and other forms of evidence that can support their claim.
Additionally, they must also meet certain criteria regarding how their condition limits their activities of daily living. A disability attorney can help with this often challenging aspect of your disability claim.
At Pilzer Klein, we have a proven track record of success in these cases, and our client reviews attest to the responsive legal care we provide.
The Disability Evaluation Process
The disability evaluation process is a series of steps to determine eligibility for SSDI benefits. Several questions must be answered to qualify, and the criteria may vary depending on the type of disability.
For example, those who have inflammatory arthritis have to provide evidence of persistent swelling as part of their evaluation, whereas those with osteoarthritis will not.
Regardless of the disability type, all applicants must answer core questions such as whether or not they are still working and if their condition prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity at the level that the SSA defines.
Why You May Need a Social Security Disability Lawyer for Your Osteoarthritis Application
When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, enlisting the help of a disability lawyer can help you avoid making mistakes when applying and increase your chances of success.
An experienced disability lawyer will use their knowledge and experience of dealing with such claims to fight for you and guide you through each step of the process. A disability lawyer understands the regulations and requirements set in place by the SSA and knows what to focus on during the application process.
An experienced attorney can help you demonstrate how your arthritis has impacted different aspects of your life, from employment opportunities to daily living. They can also request further expert evidence and guide you through the appeals process after an initial denial.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer
Whether you are considering filing for Social Security Disability for osteoarthritis or have already received a denial, hiring a qualified attorney with experience can improve your chances of success.
At Pilzer Klein, SSDI cases are all we do. Our Social Security Disability lawyers understand the challenges you face when you suffer from a painful condition and can provide the legal representation you need to pursue the benefits you deserve.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your situation and explore your options.