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Does Osteoarthritis Count for SSDI Benefits?

There are many different reasons that someone may find themselves unable to work. If that reason is a long-term disability or illness, then they may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from the Social Security Administration. Applying for these benefits can be a lot of work, and their disability must meet strict guidelines. If a person does qualify, they can receive monthly compensation for their loss of employment.

When does osteoarthritis qualify for SSDI?

One of the most common disabilities is osteoarthritis, which is when the cartilage between bones wears down and causes joint stiffness, pain, and swollen muscles. As someone gets older, their likelihood to develop osteoarthritis increases. Social Security does not simply allow someone to receive benefits due to pain and stiffness. If the osteoarthritis affects certain joints, or is so advanced that that the basic physical activities required by most jobs becomes too much to handle, they may qualify.

There are two joint-related ways that someone can apply for Social Security:

  • Back Osteoarthritis. This can apply if there has been compression of the spinal nerve root, narrowing of the spinal canal, or inflammation of the arachnoid membrane.
  • Joint Dysfunction. Only if there is an obvious joint deformity such as joint space narrowing, joint fusion, or bone destruction will joint dysfunction apply.

For those that are not eligible since their osteoarthritis does not affect their back or has not caused a joint deformity, the Social Security Administration will look at the type of employment available for those with limited movement capabilities. Depending on their findings, they may rule that only sedentary work is available. For more severe arthritis cases, Social Security may determine that this type of employment would still be physically trying.

Arthritis can be a painful daily disability that prevents a lifelong worker from continuing their employment. Though Social Security Disability Insurance can be extremely difficult to obtain, a SSDI attorney can help work with you to increase the chances of having your application accepted.