What may have started off as an annoying skin condition is now causing you significant joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. Your condition is no longer just psoriasis. Now, you also have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis can cause severe complications that make work extremely difficult or impossible. If you are unable to work then it is important to know whether you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
General Eligibility Requirements
Regardless of the specific way in which you qualify for benefits, you will need to prove that:
You are permanently disabled and cannot work for at least 12 months.
You have a diagnosis from a medical doctor who has prescribed treatment and you have either complied with treatment or you have a valid reason for refusing treatment (such as an allergy or religious objection).
You have worked long enough and paid enough into the Social Security system to qualify for benefits.
If you meet these basic Social Security disability requirements, then there are several different ways that you can prove your eligibility for benefits.
3 Ways to Qualify for Social Security Disability Pursuant to a Specific Listing
The Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a Listing of Impairments. If you meet the eligibility guidelines pursuant to a specific listing, then you are eligible for benefits. While the SSA does not have a listing specifically for psoriatic arthritis, your psoriatic arthritis may qualify you for benefits under another listing. The specific listing will depend on your symptoms, but could include:
Inflammatory Arthritis (Section 14.09 of the Listing of Impairments). Most commonly, people with psoriatic arthritis will apply under the inflammatory arthritis listing. Under this listing, you may qualify for benefits if you have an impairment that disables you by making it difficult to move your joints, such as those in your hands or feet. This in turn can make it difficult to perform certain tasks, such as writing or walking.
Major Dysfunction of a Joint (Section 1.02 of the Listing of Impairments). If psoriasis has severely limited your ability in a particular joint, you may qualify for Social Security disability under the listing for major dysfunction of a joint. This listing does not take into consideration the cause of the dysfunction of a joint. Instead, you must show that you have a deformity in the joint, and a history of difficulty moving the joint.
Disorders of the Spine (Section 1.04 of the Listing of Impairments). Anytime your spine is injured, it can impact your ability to work. If psoriatic arthritis has made it difficult for you to do basic tasks, such as bending over to pick something up, then you may qualify under the disability listing for spine disorders.
Each listing describes the specific eligibility criteria. However, even if you do not meet the criteria in any of these listings, you may still qualify for benefits.
How to Qualify for Benefits If You Do Not Meet the Requirements in the Listing of Impairments
If you do not meet the specific requirements of an individual listing, then the SSA will evaluate your eligibility differently. Specifically, the agency will be looking at your residual functional capacity. In other words, how much activity and work you are still able to do despite your disability will be evaluated. If your functional limitations keep you from being able to work any job, then you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Get the Help You Need Before You Apply
Currently, there is no cure for psoriatic arthritis and, despite treatment, you may be suffering from a permanent condition that impacts your ability to work. If this has happened to you, then it is important to contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney to determine how you may be eligible for benefits. At Keefe Disability Law, we understand what you must show in order to maximize your chances at an approval. Contact us using the contact form on this page to learn more about how we can help with your application.