Social Security Disability Benefits for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA, is a painful inflammatory condition which is classified under autoimmune disorders. With RA, membranes surrounding joints become inflamed and painful, often forming bumps of tissue, which cause joints to become permanently deformed.
If you are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits. The disorder must cause significant impairments in your ability to work. To qualify for disability benefits under the listing for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), you must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- Your RA is present in a joint in your legs, causing you significant difficulty in walking;
- Your RA affects joints in both arms, preventing you from performing many types of tasks with your arms;
- You have inflammation or a permanent deformity in one or more major joints, along with moderate involvement of at least two or more organs or body systems, causing at least two symptoms out of these four: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and/or involuntary weight loss;
- You have ankylosing spondylitis or another spondyloarthropathy, with spine fixation of at least 45 degrees;
- You have ankylosing spondylitis or another spondyloarthropathy with spine fixation of at least 30 degrees, along with moderate involvement of at least two or more body systems; or
- You suffer repeated flare-ups of your RA with at least two symptoms that limit activities of daily living, social functioning, or ability to complete tasks.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis but don’t exactly meet the specifications in the SSA’s medical listing for inflammatory arthritis, you could still qualify for disability benefits if the agency determines that you are unable to perform consistent work.
In general, to get approved for disability, your records must contain a diagnosis of RA, doctor’s notes detailing the frequency and severity of your symptoms, blood test results indicating the likelihood of RA, the history of any treatments and treatment results and other diagnostic tests, including spinal studies.