Does Osteoarthritis Qualify for Disability

does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

Osteoarthritis is a prevalent ailment that affects millions of people worldwide. It can significantly impact life, making it hard to do everyday tasks. In extreme situations, it can even lead to disability.

This blog post will answer the critical question: does osteoarthritis qualify for disability? We will explain osteoarthritis, study disability programs, and discuss individual eligibility requirements for benefit programs.

So, let’s start the journey!

Understanding Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common ailment that causes degradation of the joints. The degradation results in pain, stiffness, and reduced ability to function. Osteoarthritis primarily affects weight-bearing joints such as hands, spine, hips, knees, or ankles.

How Osteoarthritis Can Lead to Disability?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disability is the inability to perform daily tasks. Is osteoarthritis a disability? Yes, osteoarthritis can be a disability. Here are a variety of causes that make osteoarthritis a disability.

  • Cartilage damage leads to bones rubbing together, causing joint pain and swelling. This pain might make it difficult to walk and do daily duties.
  • Secondly, osteoarthritis causes joint stiffness. It makes osteoarthritis sufferers unable to bend or twist joints properly. It inhibits their ability to climb stairs, walk, or even reach for something.
  • Lastly, as osteoarthritis advances, muscular weakness develops. This muscle weakness can lead to osteoarthritis disability as people cannot stand correctly.
does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

What Activities Can Cause Disability in Osteoarthritis?

Specific jobs that involve repetitive movements, heavy lifting, and prolonged standing can lead to a decrease in joint space. This decrease occurs because of the nature of these activities.

  1. The repetitive movements strain the joints, causing them to become compressed. 
  2. Similarly, lifting heavy objects puts additional pressure on the joints, reducing the joint space.
  3. Lastly, standing for a long time can make joint space smaller because it puts constant pressure on the joints. Physical jobs increase disability risk for people with osteoarthritis.

What are Disability Benefit Programs?

Disability benefit programs are government efforts that financially support people with disabilities. These programs assist disabled individuals in meeting basic needs and improving their overall well-being. Here are two essential disability programs and how they can help you,

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security disability insurance is a government program. It gives money to those who have worked and paid taxes but are now unable to work owing to severe conditions. SSDI helps disabled workers and their families by providing financial support for lost income.

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

SSI is a government program run by the Social Security Administration SSA, but it’s not the same as SSDI. Supplemental security income gives money to people with limited work history or insufficient social security contributions. SSI helps disabled people, including kids, with little or no money.

Does Osteoarthritis Qualify for Disability?

If osteoarthritis stops you from working, it can qualify for disability. People over 50 are more welcome to apply for disability benefits if they have osteoarthritis. Social security rules are lenient for people above 50, says Atticus.

Let’s examine the requirements and how medical evidence helps qualify for a social security program.

1. Medical Requirements

To get disability payments, a doctor must diagnose you with osteoarthritis.

If your osteoarthritis is severe and affects your work, you can get Social Security disability benefits.

2. Non Medical Requirements

If you want to avail yourself of Social Security Disability Insurance, you need enough work credits. The number of credits depends on your age and job history.

Income and asset limits also apply to supplemental security income. To qualify for SSI, one must have a monthly payment below $1913, says the Social Security Administration.

The Role of Medical Evidence

Medical proof is essential for your disability claim. It aids in determining the severity of your osteoarthritis. Here is how it plays its role,

  1. Doctor’s Report: It has detailed medical records, including diagnosis, treatment plan, and prognosis. These documents represent the current state of your condition.
  2. Imaging and tests like X-rays and MRI can provide evidence of joint injury.
  3. Functional assessments evaluate movement, pain, and the impact of your disease on your daily life. These assessments help determine your movement abilities and how much your condition affected you.
does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

What is the Application Process?

When applying for disability benefits for osteoarthritis, be sure to write the exact information. Here is a guide to help you through the application process.

1. Determine Your Eligibility

Before you begin, fulfill the qualifying requirements for specific disability benefit programs. Also, take note of the medical and non-medical needs.

2. Collect Medical Records and Documentation

Gather all your osteoarthritis-related medical documents. It includes doctor’s notes, diagnostic results, and prescription drugs.

3. Consult with Healthcare Professionals

Inform your healthcare expert about your desire to file for disability benefits. Ask for their support and request detailed medical statements.

does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

4. Complete the Application Forms

Get the application forms from the appropriate government agency or group. Fill out the form completely and truthfully, including all necessary information.

5. Prepare a Detailed Personal Statement

Include a personal statement explaining how osteoarthritis interferes with your everyday life. Be open and honest about your symptoms and restrictions.

6. Keep Copies of Everything

Make duplicates of all the papers, including application forms and medical records. It will assist you in keeping a record of your application.

7. Submit Your Application

Submit your application following the guidelines. Make sure, it is complete and fulfills all requirements.

8.Be Patient and Persistent

Prepare for a waiting period after submitting your application. The application for disability benefits may take months to process. If the government refuses your application, don’t give up; you can appeal a denial claim.

How to Appeal a Denied Claim?

If the authorities refuse your initial disability claim for osteoarthritis, don’t lose hope. You can appeal a denied claim. The following are the stages of an appeal process,

  • Review the Denial Letter
  • Understand the Deadlines
  • Contact the Agency
  • Gather Additional pieces of evidence
  • Appeal for Reconsideration
  • Request an Administrative Hearing
  • Seek Legal Assistance from disability lawyers
  • Attend the Hearing
  • Await the Decision
does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

How to Appeal a Denied Claim?

Living with osteoarthritis may be difficult for people. There are ways to help people with illness and make their lives better. Here are some treatment ways to consider,

1. Vocational Rehabilitation Services

These services attempt to assist people to regain employment. They provide job training, assistive technology, and careers based on your skills and limits.

2. Physical and Occupational Therapy

Therapies can teach exercises and strategies to improve mobility, reduce discomfort, and enhance overall well-being.

does osteoarthritis qualify for disability

3. Pain Management Clinics

Pain clinics help you handle pain with treatments like medicine and non-invasive surgeries.

4. Assistive Devices

Using braces or ergonomic gadgets can make tasks easier and prevent bone damage.

Also Read, What are the 4 stages of osteoarthritis?

SNS Rheumatology Associates

Your Support in a Hard Time

If you need any osteoarthritis-related assistance, feel free to contact us. We’ll give you the best treatment to handle your condition effectively.

Final Words

Does osteoarthritis qualify for disability? Osteoarthritis can qualify as a disability if it hinders a person’s ability to work. The leading cause of disability with osteoarthritis is heavy workload or over lifting.

If you qualify for disability, you can take advantage of government disability programs. These programs provide financial aid to disabled individuals, enhancing their daily lives. Read the blog to understand the disability benefit program well.

Dr. Qaisar Usmani

Meet Dr. Qaisar Usmani, a Board Certified Rheumatologist with over 20 years of experience in the field, currently serving as Section Chief at Monmouth Medical Center and GPHA, Inc. in Pennsylvania, specializing in the treatment of various Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal diseases.

Dr. Sadia Ghafoor
Dr. Sadia Ghafoor

Meet Dr. Sadia Ghafoor, a board certified specialist in rheumatology who completed her medical training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine and her fellowship in rheumatology at the State University of New York Stony Brook campus, with additional board certification in internal medicine.

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