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Osteoarthritis and Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is offered to claimants who are severely impaired and unable to work or perform substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least 12 continuous months or their condition is expected to result in their death. The SSA considers work “substantial” when a claimant is able to earn $1,000 per month.

SSDI is available to workers who have paid employment taxes and have earned approximately 20-40 work credits over the course of their employment working jobs covered by Social Security. The amount of credits needed varies with a worker’s age at the time of their disability. Most full-time workers can earn 4 work credits per year.

Many individuals have not worked or have not paid taxes. These workers will not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be another cash assistance option provided by the Federal Government to the disabled, aged (age 65 and older), or blind who are unable to work and who have very limited income and resources.

Qualifying for SSDI for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and it is caused by the breakdown of cartilage in an individual’s joints. It most commonly occurs in the hips, knees, and spine. It can be very painful, and it can limit an individual’ ability to perform physical activity or work.

If you have osteoarthritis it may be possible to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance either by “meeting a listing”, which means your condition equals or matches a listing identified on the SSA Listing of Impairments (a list the SSA maintains of all the mental and physical health conditions it considers automatically disabling) or you may be able to prove through a medical vocational allowance that you are unable to work.

• Meeting a Listing for Osteoarthritis

Severe osteoarthritis may meet several listings found under 1.01 Category of Impairments, Musculoskeletal (i.e. 1.03 Reconstructive surgery or surgical arthrodesis of a major weight- bearing joint and 1.04 Disorders of the spine). Meeting a listing for osteoarthritis can be very difficult. Some of the common symptoms that your condition must cause will include the following:

? Persistent swelling.
? Pain
? Limitations of the knee, hip, or ankle joints
? Limitations using your hands
? Significant limitations using your arms
? Difficulty standing or walking

When evaluating a claimant’s musculoskeletal conditions the SSA has stated, "Regardless of the cause(s) of a musculoskeletal impairment, functional loss for purposes of these listings is defined as the inability to ambulate effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment, or the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively on a sustained basis for any reason, including pain associated with the underlying musculoskeletal impairment."

• Receiving SSDI based on a Medical Vocational Allowance

If your condition does not meet a listing the SSA will evaluate how it affects your ability to perform substantial gainful activity. To prove you are disabled through a medical vocational allowance you will need to have medical documentation which provides evidence of the functional limitations of your condition and specific tasks that you are unable to perform given your osteoarthritis.

For example, do you have difficulty doing any of the following:

• Walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pushing, pulling, reaching, carrying or handling
• Seeing, hearing and speaking
• Understanding or performing work-related tasks
• remembering simple instructions
• Responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers and usual work situations
• Dealing with changes in a routine work setting
• Maintaining a work schedule

The SSA will evaluate not only your residual functional capacity to work but they will also review your age, educational level, and transferable work skills to determine if you are able to work your current job, relevant work you have had in the past or if you could be retrained for new work.

Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you would like a Social Security Disability attorney to review your Social Security Disability Insurance claim you can fill out the FREE evaluation form and a disability advocate will call you to review your claim or you can call our office at 1-800-641-3759 to talk to someone now.