By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Osteoarthritis is a prevalent and often debilitating condition that affects millions of Americans, making it difficult for them to maintain employment. In Florida, individuals who find themselves unable to work due to osteoarthritis can seek financial support through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. When applying for these benefits, understanding the role of vocational experts and having skilled legal assistance from Disability Advocates Group can significantly impact the success of your case.

Understanding Osteoarthritis and Its Impact

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that primarily affects the knees, hips, and hands. It is a painful condition characterized by the gradual wearing down of joint cartilage, causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. These symptoms can make it challenging to sustain employment, especially if your job involves repetitive movements, standing for extended periods, or heavy lifting.

The SSDI and SSI Application Process

When seeking SSDI or SSI benefits for osteoarthritis, it’s essential to understand the application process and the critical role that vocational experts play in your case.

Role of Vocational Experts

A vocational expert is a professional who specializes in labor market trends and employment opportunities. They provide expertise on the vocational aspects of disability claims, helping administrative law judges understand how a claimant’s condition affects their ability to work. Here are the key roles of vocational experts:

  1. Evaluating Your Past Work: The vocational expert will review your work history and the requirements of your past jobs. They will assess whether your osteoarthritis has impacted your ability to perform these roles.
  2. Assessing Transferable Skills: Vocational experts will determine if you possess any skills from your previous work that are transferable to less physically demanding roles. They help identify alternative job opportunities that may be suitable given your limitations.
  3. Determining Job Availability: Vocational experts provide crucial information about the availability of jobs in the current labor market. They consider various factors, including geographical location and the specific demands of potential positions.

The Importance of Skilled Legal Representation

Navigating the SSDI and SSI application process for osteoarthritis can be complex. That’s where Disability Advocates Group comes in. Their skilled legal representatives can assist in several ways:

  1. Collecting Medical Documentation: They’ll help you gather comprehensive medical records, ensuring your diagnosis and treatment history are well-documented.
  2. Form Completion: Disability Advocates Group can assist you in completing your SSDI or SSI application accurately. Ensuring that you include all the necessary information is essential for a successful claim.
  3. Vocational Expert Interaction: Your legal representative will work closely with vocational experts to provide a clear understanding of how your condition affects your ability to work.
  4. Appeal Support: If your initial application is denied, they can guide you through the appeals process, including representation at hearings and filing reconsideration requests.

Osteoarthritis is a debilitating condition that can disrupt your ability to maintain employment. If you’re in Florida and believe you’re eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits due to osteoarthritis, understanding the role of vocational experts is crucial. Their expertise in assessing your capacity to work is pivotal in your case’s success.

To navigate the SSDI and SSI application process for osteoarthritis, Disability Advocates Group can provide invaluable support. Their legal experts are well-versed in the intricacies of disability claims, ensuring that your application is robust and compelling. You don’t have to face this process alone; skilled legal representation can provide the guidance and advocacy you need to secure the financial support you deserve during this challenging time.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals in Florida obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.