The Law Office of Mark A. Schneider

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Social Security Appeals

Rheumatoid arthritis sometimes referred to as RA. It is a disease that affects a large number of people. The pain and discomfort that can come from RA are often enough to alter your life forever. RA can make harder for you to do the things you used to do – mainly work. RA can make it where you are unable to do the job you once did, leaving you in a position with no apparent way out.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes RA and its effects as a form of disability, especially when the symptoms become severe. Ideally, when RA is limiting your ability to work, you should be able to get Social Security disability benefits to help cover your expenses. Applying for benefits is the first step in getting the money you need. But you need to be aware of the challenges of applying for Social Security Disability. If Social Security denies your claim, you can appeal, to get your benefits.

Most common in females and those ranging between age 40 and age 60, RA shows up in people who have a family history of the disorder. Smokers are also more prone to RA than nonsmokers. RA is not limited to these groups. Children can develop the disease in certain cases.

RA typically affects the joints, leading to swelling, stiffness, and pain. It often begins in the joints of the hands but can move to other areas over time, including the shoulders, knees, and hips. The pain and swelling can develop even further.  RA can spread to the point where the joints deform and become virtually unusable. While there is a range of treatments to help alleviate symptoms, many consider RA as a chronic condition.

The SSA requires that you prove that you are unable to work, or at least work in the same capacity you were before. To prove your disability, you will need to gather evidence, including signed forms from your doctor explaining your condition.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Understanding Your SSD & SSDi Eligibility With Rheumatoid Arthritis

The SSA has a good reason for including RA in its Listing of Impairments. The disorder can be permanently debilitating, which is exactly what Social Security disability benefits can help. To qualify for benefits, you need to meet the criteria set forth by the SSA for RA. Being diagnosed with RA is not enough to be eligible. Your RA must significantly inhibit your ability to work in the same capacity you once did.

The SSA has a set of requirements for RA and inflammatory arthritis that is somewhat complicated. You can work with your doctor to see if you qualify. The requirements are quite specific:

  • Having RA in your legs where you have difficulty walking
  • Having RA in both arms, inhibiting your ability to perform regular tasks
  • Suffering from periodic bouts of RA that leave you with two of a list of symptoms, including malaise, fever, weight loss, exhaustion, etc.

You can apply for disability in the following ways:

  • In person
  • by phone
  • online

Probably the least desirable option is to walk into the Social Security office without an appointment. You may have to wait a long time before you can talk to someone about your application. Calling to apply allows you to speak with a representative.  They can help you with the application, and applying online is often the fastest option.

Be prepared for denial of your initial application. The SSA tends to deny claims the first time around. You will need to appeal if you want to get your benefits. The appeal process can take a significant amount of time, over a year in some cases.  Prepare yourself for a wait. By demonstrating your disability, there is a chance you will get your benefits, but it will probably not happen quickly.

Applying and Preparing For Appeal

Meeting Disability Requirements

Even if you do not meet the exact requirements for RA under the SSA guidelines, you may still be able to obtain benefits. If you meet general disability requirements, you may still qualify. Depending on which conditions you meet, you may be able to get either full disability payments or at least partial payments.

  • Some of the SSA disability requirements include:
  • You must be unable to work full-time
  • Your disability lasts for a year or more
  • You cannot do the job you once did, and are not in a position to train to do another job that will allow you to earn a similar level of income as your original employment

Now that you have an idea of the possibilities of qualifying for disability with your rheumatoid arthritis, it is time to begin the actual process. Understand, most first-time disability – for RA or anything else – are usually denied. It may take one or more appeals to qualify for disability.

At the Law Office of Mark A. Schneider, we help RA sufferers in the North Country of New York (Clinton, Essex and Franklin Counties) through the disability application process. From preparing your initial application to handling your appeals, we can help you ensure that you do everything right the first time. Please contact our firm now to discuss your Social Security disability benefits. We will have experienced SSI & SSD appeals lawyer if your case is denied.

Getting Help with Your (SSI) Social Security Disability Claim


Words From Clients

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    Amanda Palmer
    Personal Injury Client
  • Unreal how fast it was for me and it’s all thanks to Mark Schneider. A big thanks to you Mark. I’m very very pleased.

    R. Drew Palcsik Attorney at Law PLLC
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    Supplemental Security Income Client
  • Excellent representation’ would be an understatement! I was very pleased and would highly recommend this firm to anyone! Very professional yet very open minded towards clients needs.

    David B.
    Social Security Disability Client

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