Gout and Social Security Disability BenefitsGout, which is found almost exclusively in men over the age of 50, is a condition where excessive uric acid is produced and deposited in the joints causing inflammatory arthritis. Sufferers of gout can experience painful swelling, especially in their feet and toes.
Individuals who have gout may experience:
Extreme tenderness, pain and swelling in the affected joints
Discomfort which can last for hours
Itchy and peeling skin around the affected joints
Very red or purplish skin
Limited movement in the affected joint
Winning SSA Disability benefits for Gout
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has two methods it uses to determine if a claimant is disabled and qualifies for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Claimants may either have a disabling mental or physical health conditions which meets or exceeds a condition on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known informally as the Blue Book) or they can prove they do not have the residual capacity to work through a medical vocational allowance.
Meeting a SSA Listing of Impairments for Gout
The Listing of Impairments was created by the SSA to outline specific conditions which the SSA considers automatically disabling. Each listing identifies the symptoms the claimant must have to be considered disabled and unable to perform substantial work. Gout is generally analyzed under Listing 1.00 Musculoskeletal System , Section 1.02 Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause).
According to the SSA, to meet this listing the claimants condition must be characterized by gross anatomical deformity and chronic joint pain and stiffness with signs of limitation of motion or other abnormal motion of the affected joint(s), and findings on appropriate medically acceptable imaging of joint space narrowing, bony destruction, or ankylosis of the affected joint(s). With:
A. Involvement of one major peripheral weight-bearing joint (i.e., hip, knee, or ankle), resulting in inability to ambulate effectively, as defined in 1.00B2b;
B. Involvement of one major peripheral joint in each upper extremity (i.e., shoulder, elbow, or wrist-hand), resulting in inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively, as defined in 1.00B2c.
According to the SSA, you will need to meet both parts of the listings (Section 1.02A and Section 1.02B) to qualify for SSDI or SSI.
How do I meet the listing under Section 1.02 of the listing?
To meet the listing under section 1.02A the SSA is saying that your condition or joint dysfunction must affect your ability to ambulate effectively. This means that you must have extreme difficulty walking or ambulating. For instance, could you do any of the following?
Walk without the use of crutches, canes or a walker?
Complete daily activities such as grocery shopping or getting your mail?
Can you use public transportation?
Can you walk a full block at a reasonable pace?
Can you climb stairs at a reasonable pace?
If you cannot complete the tasks listed above, you may not be able to effectively ambulate and you may meet the first part of this listing.
To meet the listing under section 1.02B, the SSA is trying to determine if your joints in your upper extremities allows you to perform gross or fine motor skills. To determine whether you have lost the ability to complete certain tasks with your upper body the SSA will evaluate how capable you are of grasping, fingering, pulling, reaching and pushing.
The SSA acknowledges that limitations in your upper extremities will significantly limit your ability to perform basic activities of daily living. Activities that the SSA will evaluate to determine your limitations can include:
Whether you can perform your own person hygiene requirements
Whether you can handle and sort papers
Whether you can reach above your head and store objects
Whether or not you can clothe or feed yourself
To meet the listing you must meet both section 1.02A and 1.02B of the listing.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer
What if your Gout is not severe enough to meet or equal a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments? The Social Security Administration will review your residual functional capacity (RFC) to work and determine if you should be awarded benefits through a medical vocational allowance.
Because proving a claim through a medical vocational allowance can be much more time-consuming and difficult, you may want to consult with a disability lawyer.