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Rheumatoid Arthritis and Disability Benefits

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term (chronic) disease that  in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues causing inflammation of the joints. The condition typically causes swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints. However, it may also affect other areas of the body, including the cardiovascular system, kidneys, skin, and eyes .The inflammation is so severe that it affects how the joints and other parts of the body function. In the hand, RA causes deformities in the joints of the fingers. This makes moving your hands difficult. Lumps, known as rheumatoid nodules, may form anywhere in the body.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers RA a disability if the person’s condition is so severe that they will need to be out of work for 12 months or more.

The SSA classifies RA under “inflammatory arthritis.”

According to the SSA, to qualify for SSDI, a person living with RA needs to meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • persistent inflammation or deformity of one or more of the major peripheral joints in the legs or feet that causes one of the following:
    • an inability to walk
    • an inability to use both arms for daily functions for work or independent living activities
  • inflammation or deformity in one or more major joints of an arm or leg with involvement of at least two organs or body systems and at least two symptoms, such as:
    • fatigue
    • fever
    • weight loss
    • malaise
  • The presence of severe ankylosing spondylitis or another spondyloarthropathy.
  • Continual arthritis flares, along with symptoms, such as fever or weight loss, and the inability to fully function in the following:
    • daily living activities
    • social functioning
    • time-efficient completion of tasks at work

You can qualify for disability with rheumatoid arthritis if you have experienced one of the following:

  • Inflammation or deformity of the major joints in your arms and legs, and it has led to an inability to walk without a walker and perform fine motor movements with your hands
  • Inflammation or deformity of the major joints in your arms and legs along with two organs or body systems being moderately to severely affected, and you’ve experienced weight loss, fatigue, fever, and/or malaise
  • Repeated flare ups with weight loss, fatigue, fever, and/or malaise, along with a limitation of daily activities, social functioning, or the ability to turn in tasks on time

Most people sufferings from a disability are short resources from the inability to work. At Mid-America Law Firm we have resource lists and community program information to help you. We do not charge for consultations and we do not get paid until you do so there is no money needed up front to try to secure your future with Social Security Disability Benefits. As always if you have any questions you can always reach us at Mid-America Law Firm at (816)984-8800 and we would be happy to help.

Maria Theoharidis~


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