Arthritis is a condition in which the joints become swollen and painful. This condition can affect many parts of the body, and a variety of other conditions can cause it. Depending on the type of job that a person with arthritic joints has, getting disability benefits for the condition might be very important. Arthritic joints and the other symptoms that go along with the condition can be very painful and can make it more difficult or impossible for people to work. There are, however, SSA benefits that a person can apply for to find ways of coping if it’s truly impossible to find work that the patient can do.
What is Arthritis?
With this condition, the main symptom that is experienced regardless of the type is swollen, stiff, and painful joints. When it’s not treated, it can become debilitating, and even with treatment, there are some people with the condition who are left disabled from the pain. They can often finding it difficult to walk or do other everyday activities, such as using their hands. There are over 100 different types of arthritic conditions, but the two most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The causes of the condition depends on the type that the person has. For instance, someone with osteoarthritis developed it because the cartilage has broken down, so bones rub against each other.
While this condition most often affects older people, it’s possible for even children to get a juvenile idiopathic form of the condition. This type of arthritic condition might only last for a couple of months, or it might last for the rest of the child’s life. In this form of the condition, the immune system attacks the body.
While there’s no one cause of arthritic conditions, there are a few factors that can make a person more likely to develop some form of the condition. For instance, obesity is a major contributor to osteoarthritis. Some other common factors that can contribute to the likelihood that a person will develop the condition include having a family history, injury of a joint, and being a woman.
This condition is most common in older people, and it generally worsens with age. Over 50 million Americans struggle with arthritic conditions.
Symptoms and Types of Arthritis
Some of the most common symptoms of all types of arthritis include swollen joints, pain, and stiffness. These symptoms can occur in almost any area of the body, including the shoulders, hands, knees, feet, hips, ankles, elbows, and spine.
Depending on the type of arthritis that the person has, they can also have related conditions and symptoms other than joint pain. For instance, someone with rheumatoid arthritis might also experience skin rashes, which are related to the body’s immune system attacking itself. On the other hand, someone with osteoarthritis won’t experience skin rashes because their condition developed because the cartilage wore down over time because of pressure on the joints.
Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage between the bones wears away until there’s bone-on-bone rubbing, which causes a lot of stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis is also called wear-and-tear or degenerative arthritis. Along with the tenderness that is typical of osteoarthritis, the person might also experience bone spurs and a loss of flexibility.
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the entire body. With this type, since the immune system is attacking the body, there are several accompanying symptoms. For instance, a person will sometimes experience fever, weight loss, weakness, fatigue, and swelling in more than one joint.
Gout is another type of disorder that can occur with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. With gout, the skin around the joints becomes inflamed and can be painful and hot. It occurs when too much uric acid builds up in the body. Typically, the symptoms will last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks each time there is a flare-up. Typically, the stiffness and pain will be experienced equally on both sides. For instance, if the right hand is stiff and painful, the left hand will have the same symptoms.
Some people also have lupus, which can cause arthritic symptoms and a whole variety of other problems, such as fatigue, pain in the chest when breathing, rash, and fever. Finally, the psoriatic variety is the fifth common type of this condition.
Treatment for Arthritis
There are a few types of treatment for this condition, but the kind that’s given will depend on the specific type of the arthritic condition. For the rheumatoid variety, one of the most common types of treatments is a class of drugs called Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs). This type of drug slows or stops the immune system from attacking the joints.
Pain killers, which are used with arthritic conditions, can make it easier for people with the condition to function and work with less pain. Acetaminophen is the most common type of over-the-counter drug that’s used to lessen the pain even though it doesn’t lessen inflammation. In some cases, when the pain is more severe, opioids might be prescribed to lessen the pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) lessen pain and inflammation. Some of the most common over-the-counter versions of this type of drug include Aleve and Advil. Corticosteroids can alleviate pain and are taken orally or are directly injected near the painful joint. Prednisone is one of the more well-known versions of this type of drug.
Therapy, such as physical therapy, is a form of treatment that can be helpful to some people with this condition. This type of treatment strengthens the muscles, providing more support and range of motion.
Finally, some surgeries, such as joint fusing, resurfacing, and joint replacement are used to alleviate pain.
Disability Benefits for Arthritis
Getting the SSDI benefits that people with arthritic conditions need can be a tricky process. Looking at the Blue Book to determine what severity of symptoms might qualify a person for Social Security disability insurance is a good place to start. In order for a person to qualify for disability insurance through the Social Security Administration, they must meet at least one of the four following criteria:
- Deformity or inflammation of the spine and surrounding organs
- Inflammatory arthritis that limits your everyday interactions, movement, social functioning, and daily life.
- Persistent deformity and inflammation of the joints
- Inflammation of the joints and major organ systems
People can be more certain that they’ll receive disability benefits if their symptoms are severe and long-lasting. For instance, a person who has symptoms that make it impossible for them to work for at least a year is much more likely to receive benefits than someone who has been unable to work for only a month.
Although some people might experience the condition, not everyone with it will qualify for benefits under these particular parameters. For people who don’t qualify for SSA benefits, there’s another option that could help them gain the Social Security disability benefits that they need.
If the type of the condition isn’t included in the SSA Blue Book or the condition isn’t severe enough, another option is to apply for a medical vocational allowance, which exists for instances in which a person doesn’t meet the Blue Book criteria but has a condition that’s severe enough to make it difficult or impossible to work.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Arthritis, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.