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Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Qualify for Disability Benefits?

By    |   Tuesday, 10 May 2016 03:16 PM

More effective medications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms have decreased the risk of the disease causing a disability, but fatigue, pain and other symptoms could still interfere with work performance.

Nearly one in three employees with rheumatoid arthritis is forced to leave the workforce, according to WebMD. That figure is almost half of what it was 20 years ago because of newer medications. Still, the pain and stiffness continues to hinder the job performance of many patients with the crippling disease.

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Rheumatoid arthritis may qualify a person for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits or Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, according to the Social Security Disability SSI Resource Center.

However, medical records must provide information that the disorder prevents the person from earning a certain income each month, known as substantial gainful activity, or SGA. The medical records must also reveal a person’s symptoms will likely not improve for 12 months or more.

The SGA level for 2015 was set at $1,090 a month or more. So a person earning $1,090 or more would be denied a claim for disability benefits, according to Nolo, a legal site for consumers and small businesses.

If a person with rheumatoid arthritis meets the financial limitations to receive disability benefits, the condition must meet requirements for impairments under criteria set by the Social Security Administration.

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Those impairments may include joint dysfunction that makes it difficult to walk or do simple activities such as typing, lifting, or holding a pen, Nolo reports. Impairments to a weight-bearing joint might include reconstructive surgery or fusion that interferes with walking.

Spine disorders that may qualify a person for disability benefits include nerve root compression that causes pain, limited flexibility, and weakened muscles; spinal arachnoiditis, an inflammation of membranes around spinal cord nerves; and lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal.

Disability benefits may be provided for swelling or deformity of joints throughout the body or repeated inflammatory arthritis that causes severe fatigue, fever, weight loss, and interferes with the ability to perform daily activities or interaction with others in activities the person once enjoyed.

A person who does not meet the specific listings of criteria for disability benefits may still get approval, depending on the circumstances, Nolo points out. The Social Security Administration takes into consideration, age, education, and work experience, and the impact rheumatoid arthritis has had on work performance.

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More effective medications for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms have decreased the risk of the disease causing a disability, but fatigue, pain and other symptoms could still interfere with work performance.
rheumatoid arthritis, disability, benefits
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2016-16-10
Tuesday, 10 May 2016 03:16 PM
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