Can I Receive Social Security for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues. Unlike the wear and tear damage that tends to come with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that may eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. The inflammation that comes with rheumatoid arthritis is what can damage other parts of the body as well. While medications have improved treatment options, rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis and are unable to work because of it, you may be able to qualify for Social Security benefits. The listing for “inflammatory arthritis” is Listing 14.09, and has four different potential scenarios for approval.
The first avenue for approval is showing Social Security that you have Persistent inflammation or persistent deformity of either (1) One or more major peripheral weight-bearing joints resulting in the inability to ambulate effectively; or (2) none or more major peripheral joints in each upper extremity resulting in the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively.
A second way to be approved for benefits with RA is if you have inflammation or deformity in one or more major peripheral joints with (1) the involvement of two or more organs/body systems with one of them involved to at least a moderate level of severity; and (2) at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (i.e., severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss).
The third way Social Security approves RA cases is if you suffer from ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies, with:
1. Fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by medical imaging (i.e., x-ray, CT scan) and measured on physical examination at 45° or more of flexion from the vertical position; or
2. Fixation of the dorsolumbar or cervical spine as shown by appropriate medical imaging and measured on physical examination between 30° and 45° of flexion measured from the vertical position and involvement of two or more organs/body systems with one of the organs/body systems involved to at least a moderate level of severity.
The last way Social Security approves RA cases is if you suffer from repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis, with at least two of the constitutional symptoms or signs (severe fatigue, fever, malaise, or involuntary weight loss) and one of the following: marked limitation of activities of daily living; marked limitation in maintaining social functioning; or marked limitation in completing tasks in a timely manner due to deficiencies in concentration, persistence, or pace.