Arthritis and Social Security Disability 

Jun 26

Arthritis can be caused by a number of different conditions such as the aging process, inflammation, deficiency in the autoimmune system and traumatic injury.  There are many types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, gout, pseudo gout, rheumatoid arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, ankylosing arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Behcet’s disease, Whipple’s disease, Lyme disease, inflammatory bowel disease and traumatic arthritis.  Whatever the cause or condition, arthritis can cause chronic pain and limitations in the affected area of the body which may impact an individual’s ability to work and perform daily activities.

SSA recognizes that an individual may be entitled to social security disability benefits based on arthritis that impacts one or more body parts or body system.  SSA has special rules that SSA uses to evaluate arthritis.  For example, if SSA determines that the impacted body part or body system meets or equals one of the Listing criteria found in SSA’s special Listing rules, SSA should award benefits.  Generally, SSA’s special Listing rules for arthritis are found under Listing Section 1.00 and Listing Section 14.00.  Under some circumstances, an individual’s arthritic impairment may satisfy SSA’s special Medical-Vocational Guideline Rules under Step 4 and Step 5 of SSA’s 5-Step Sequential Evaluation process warranting an award of benefits.

To improve an individual’s chances of winning disability benefits because of an arthritic condition, the condition and affected body part(s) or system should be well documented with objective medical findings and treatment records should show that there has been no improvement despite appropriate treatment with specialist(s).  An individual seeking disability benefits because of a form of arthritic impairment should speak with a representative or attorney who has represented individuals in front of SSA who cannot work because of the arthritic impairment.