Thursday, August 29, 2013

GUEST POST (Applying for Social Security Disability with Rheumatoid Arthritis)

A big thank you to Ram Meyyappan for submitting this important article. I know a lot of people dealing with RA, Lupus and other Autoimmune Disease issues will have to deal with this issue at some point in their lives. 

Applying for Social Security Disability with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is among the conditions the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers to under certain circumstance meet the severity level requirements for receiving disability benefits through either one or both of the available disability programs.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis that has progressed to the point that it prevents you from working, then you may be able to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
Technical Qualification for Benefits
Before the SSA reviews any of your medical records and other detailed documentation, they will first determine if you meet the basic technical eligibility requirements for receiving SSD benefits.
  • For SSDI, they must verify you have the required work credits built up from your previous employment.
  • For SSI, they must thoroughly review your financial data to determine if you meet the income and resource limitations for this need-based program.
For specific information on the qualifications for SSDI and SSI, please visit:

Rheumatoid arthritis is considered a potentially disabling condition by the SSA, which means there is a dedicated listing for the condition in the SSA’s Blue Book. That listing is what the SSA will compare your application and medical records to in order to determine if you qualify for disability benefits.
The listing appears in Section 14.09 of the Blue Book and requires at least one of the following is documented in your medical evidence:
  • You experience at least one of the following severe issues in at least one of your major weight-bearing joints or one of the joints that allow you to walk, reach, grasp, or perform other essential functions:

  • Persistent inflammation


  • Severe or progressive deformity

  • You suffer from deformity or inflammation of at least one of your major joints, accompanied by:

  • Severe affects to one of more of your organs or body systems


  • At least two of the following signs autoimmune dysfunction or deficiency: pronounced weight loss, persistent fever, malaise, or severe fatigue.

  • You have spinal inflammation or fused vertebrae with significant spinal deformity and corresponding improper stance

  • Ongoing autoimmune issues, documented by persistent presence of at least two of the symptoms listed above and which also causes you to experience:

    • Pronounced limitations in everyday abilities
    • Loss of social functioning and other daily interactions
    • The inability to complete tasks at a reasonable pace or about of time, accompanied by an inability to concentrate or lack of stamina required for follow through

For more information on qualifying with Rheumatoid Arthritis, please visit:

Submitting Your Application

You can complete and submit your disability application online ( or at your local SSA office. Online application is usually the fastest method, as applying in person requires you schedule an appointment and participate in an in-person interview with an SSA representative.

After filing your claim, be prepared to wait at least four months for a decision. You should also be prepared to receive a denial notice and to file appeals. Almost 60% of claims are denied at the initial application stage. Be sure to file appeals within the allotted 60 days from the date of the denial notice you receive. Respond in a timely manner to any additional requests for information from the SSA as well. Though the application and review processes are long and involved, proceeding through the full procedure is essential to get the benefits you need. You should also strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate if your claim is denied.

Article by Ram Meyyappan
Social Security Disability Help

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