Tennessee disability lawyer explains the Social Security disability rules regarding arthritis

Arthritis is a common problem, and as we age most of us eventually suffer from some form of arthritis.

However, there are a lot of different types of arthritis, and a mild touch of joint pain in the morning does not pass the Social Security Administration test for an impairment that qualifies for disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration maintains a listing of impairments, and it describes on this listing what types and severity of symptoms are required to be eligible for disability benefits.

I have worked with Tennessee disability claimants who suffer from arthritis, so I am familiar with the listing requirements and what qualifies and what doesn’t qualify.

The Social Security Administration covers arthritis under “musculoskeletal system” limitations

There are over 100 different forms of arthritis, and the Social Security Administration does not have listings for all of them. However, it generally deals with arthritis in its musculoskeletal listings.

In one area of the musculoskeletal listings, the Social Security Administration covers “Major dysfunction of a joint(s) (due to any cause).” Another listing deals with “Disorders of the spine.” Some types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and facet arthritis may be evaluated under these listings.

Another area of the musculoskeletal listings is dedicated to “Inflammatory arthritis.” This listing covers quite a few different types of arthritis and other disorders.

The Social Security Administration evaluation of inflammatory arthritis

The Social Security listing on inflammatory arthritis deals with joint pain that results in difficulties walking or using your arms or hands.

Inflammatory arthritis that involves the axial spine may be associated with such disorders as Reiter’s syndrome, Ankylosing spondylitis, Psoriatic arthritis, Whipple’s disease, Behcet’s disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Inflammatory arthritis that involves peripheral joints may be associated with such disorders as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, gout, lyme disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The Social Security Administration uses several different ways to evaluate whether or not inflammatory arthritis is sufficiently disabling to qualify for disability benefits, but the most common test is whether there is persistent inflammation or persistent deformity of:

  1. One or more major peripheral weight-bearing joints resulting in the inability to ambulate effectively; or
  2. One or more major peripheral joints in each upper extremity resulting in the inability to perform fine and gross movements effectively.

Both of these tests are further defined in another part of the Social Security Administration guidelines, but the basic meaning is that the arthritis must result in a significant problem walking, or using your hands or arms.

I can help Tennessee disability claimants

Developing the best possible case for your Tennessee Social Security disability arthritis claim requires careful attention to detail and the guidance of a knowledgeable disability lawyer.

If you are not already represented by a Tennessee disability attorney and want my evaluation of your case, give me a brief description of your claim using the form to the right.