Q I have severe rheumatoid arthritis in my hands, hips, and knees. I have a lot of pain and it’s hard for me to walk. I can no longer work. I applied for SSDI and I was denied. Why?
Almost 70 percent of applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied. But, this doesn’t mean that 70 percent of disability applicants aren’t eligible for SSI or SSDI. Most denials occur because applicants do not adequately prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the symptoms of their disability are severe enough to prevent them from working at a “substantial and gainful” level.
To be employed at a “substantial and gainful” level, applicants must earn more than $1,040 a month (or $1,740 if blind). Anyone who earns more than this amount is not eligible for SSI/SSDI benefits, regardless of disability.
The SSA is very concerned with how your disability affects your ability to function both at work and in daily life. More than half of all adults over the age of 40 have from some form of arthritis, but most are still able to work. A diagnosis is not enough. Your doctor needs to document your level of pain and the amount of disability in each affected joint. Your medical records should include your limitations. Are you unable to stand for long periods of time? Are you unable to walk without a cane? Are you unable to dress yourself? These details are necessary to prove your level of disability.
You must also be able to show that your symptoms are not likely to improve for a period of 12 months or more. This may sound easy. After all, there is no cure for arthritis. However, there are ways to relieve your symptoms. You must show that your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working despite following your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan. If you aren’t taking your medications and following your doctor’s orders, your Social Security claim may be denied.
Denied disability? If you are unable to work and believe that you qualify for SSI/SSDI, you have the right to appeal your denial. Let our Boston disability law attorneys help you get the documentation you need to get the benefits you have earned. To learn more, request a free copy of our book titled Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process, or contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.