John L. Keefe
The word “arthritis” comes from the Greek words arthro, which means joint, and itis, which means inflammation. Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint.
Arthritis can occur anywhere that two bones come together. The ends of our bones are covered in cartilage. This cartilage is lined with a fluid-filled membrane that acts like a lubricant to keep the bones from sticking and wearing on each other.
There are several types of arthritis, but they all affect the joints. The most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage wears out and the exposed ends of the bone start to rub together. The exposed bone will hypertrophy, a medical term that means the bone increases in both size and thickness, making the bone hard to move. At the same time, the muscles and ligaments attached to the bone weaken. This causes pain, stiffness, and swelling.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the membranes thicken and become swollen. This also makes the joint painful and stiff. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause the tissue to harden and fuse the joint, so it can’t be moved at all.
Symptoms of arthritis can range from occasional stiffness in the hands and feet to disabling pain and lack of mobility. So, it’s no surprise that it takes more than a diagnosis of arthritis to make an applicant eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
To qualify for SSI or SSDI, an applicant must be given a diagnosis of arthritis that affects multiple major joints (hip, ankle, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand); there must still be inflammation and tenderness after at least three months of following a doctor’s treatment plan; and, there must be restricted function in each of the affected joints. The condition must be expected to last at least three months and make it difficult for the applicant to work for pay.
Unfortunately, many people with arthritis are denied disability benefits the first time they apply. Sometimes it is because the applicant does not qualify. Many times, though, the applicant is qualified for SSA benefits but there was not enough documentation for the SSA to determine the severity of the applicant’s arthritis. The Boston disability benefits attorneys at Keefe Disability Law can help. To learn more, request a free copy of our book titled The Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Disability, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.
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