Arthritis is a debilitating condition that affects millions of Americans, making it challenging for individuals to work and support themselves. For those facing severe arthritis, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can provide much-needed financial support. A Mobile, AL disability benefits attorney can help you explore the Blue Book criteria and the process for obtaining SSD benefits.
Types of Arthritis That Qualify for Disability Benefits in Mobile, AL
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Severe cases that result in significant joint damage and functional limitations may meet the criteria for disability benefits.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the elderly. While it is a common condition, severe cases that result in chronic pain and limitations in mobility, especially in weight-bearing joints, may qualify for disability benefits.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of inflammatory arthritis that mainly affects the spine and sacroiliac joints. In severe cases, when it leads to spinal fusion and significant limitations in mobility, disability benefits may be considered.
Psoriatic arthritis is an autoimmune condition that affects individuals with psoriasis. Severe cases of psoriatic arthritis lead to joint deformities and significant functional limitations. These may be eligible for disability benefits.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that can cause joint pain, inflammation, and organ damage. Severe cases that result in debilitating joint involvement may meet the criteria for disability benefits.
Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints. Severe and recurrent gout attacks that result in joint damage and disability may qualify for benefits.
You should consult an experienced Mobile, AL SSD attorney to deal with the application process and improve the likelihood of a successful claim.
Factors Affecting Arthritis-Related Disability Claims in Alabama
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has specific criteria and guidelines for evaluating arthritis-related disability claims. These are the key factors:
- Inability to Engage in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA): To qualify for disability benefits, your arthritis must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. SGA refers to work that provides a certain level of income, which the SSA adjusts annually. If your arthritis significantly limits your ability to work and earn income, you may meet this requirement.
- Meeting or Equaling a Listing: The SSA maintains a “Listing of Impairments” that outlines specific medical criteria for various conditions, including some forms of arthritis. To be eligible for disability benefits, your arthritis must meet or equal the criteria in the listing. This may involve specific diagnostic test results, clinical findings, and documented functional limitations.
- Severe Functional Limitations: Arthritis should significantly limit your ability to perform basic work-related activities. These activities include standing, walking, sitting, lifting, pushing, and pulling. If your arthritis prevents you from carrying out these activities, you may meet this requirement.
- Inability to Perform Past Work: The SSA will evaluate whether your arthritis prevents you from performing the type of work you did before. If your condition makes it impossible to continue your previous employment, you may qualify for SSD.
- Inability to Adjust to New Work: The SSA will also assess whether you can adapt to a different type of work, considering factors such as your age, education, and transferable skills. If your arthritis limits your ability to learn new skills or perform different work, you may be eligible for SSD.
It’s critical to note that the SSA evaluates each case on an individual basis. You should consult with a prolific attorney who can help you gather the necessary medical evidence, complete the application correctly, and handle the appeals process if your initial application is denied, increasing your chances of a successful claim.
Importance of Medical Documentation
Comprehensive medical documentation is the foundation of any disability claim. It should confirm your diagnosis of arthritis, specifying the type and severity. The documentation should include reports of clinical evaluations, x-rays, MRIs, or other relevant tests. A clear diagnosis is the first step in proving your eligibility for SSD benefits.
Arthritis can vary greatly in its progression and impact on an individual. Your medical records should reflect the progression of your condition over time. This can help illustrate the chronic and long-lasting nature of your arthritis, which is essential for an SSD claim.
Role Played by an Attorney in Obtaining Disability Benefits
A seasoned disability lawyer can help you complete the SSD application accurately. They will ensure that all necessary medical evidence and documentation are included to support your claim. During an initial consultation, an attorney will assess your case to determine if you meet the criteria for disability benefits due to arthritis. They will review your medical records and discuss your functional limitations.
Attorneys are knowledgeable about the criteria set by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits. They will know how to present your case in a way that aligns with SSA guidelines and maximizes your chances of approval.
If your initial application gets denied, your attorney will represent you during the appeals process. They can prepare a strong case for reconsideration, attend hearings, and advocate on your behalf to demonstrate the severity of your arthritis and its impact on your ability to work.
Our Mobile, AL Disability Lawyers are Ready to Fight for You
The experienced SSD attorneys at Walton Law LLC possess an in-depth understanding of the regulations and criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration and other relevant agencies. Our dedicated Mobile, AL attorneys will assess the nature and severity of your disability, your medical history, and your work history to determine the best approach for your case. Schedule your free case review with our legal team today. Call us at 251-455-5819 or contact us online.