Arthritis is one of the most common conditions that can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Arthritis causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness that can severely limit mobility and the ability to work. If you suffer from arthritis in Florida and it prevents you from maintaining gainful employment, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

What Causes Arthritis? 

Arthritis refers to over 100 different diseases and conditions that affect the joints and surrounding tissues. The most common forms are osteoarthritis, caused by wear-and-tear damage, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder. Other types include psoriatic arthritis, gout, lupus, and arthritis related to infections. Risk factors for developing arthritis include age, joint injuries, obesity, genetics, and metabolic abnormalities.

Diagnosing Arthritis 

To diagnose arthritis, doctors typically run blood tests to check for inflammation levels, examine joints for swelling and warmth, and order imaging scans like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. Range of motion and reflex tests can assess joint flexibility and nerve function.

Treating Arthritis 

While there is no cure for most forms of arthritis, treatments can help relieve pain and preserve joint function. Common treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, steroids, physical therapy, assistive devices like braces and canes, surgery to repair or replace damaged joints, and lifestyle changes like weight loss and exercise.

How Arthritis Can Qualify for Disability Benefits 

The SSA has specific criteria for when arthritis can be considered a qualifying disability. Generally, your arthritis must significantly limit your physical functionality and ability to perform basic work activities like walking, standing, lifting, and carrying for at least 12 continuous months.

The SSA periodically updates its disability evaluation guide called the Blue Book, which includes a section on musculoskeletal disorders like arthritis. You may automatically qualify if your condition matches the severity requirements spelled out in this listing, which looks at factors like inflammation levels, loss of joint motion and function, imaging evidence, and inability to ambulate effectively.

Percentage of SSDI/SSI Claims in Florida for Arthritis 

Arthritis is one of the top 10 conditions for which SSDI and SSI benefits are awarded nationwide. However, statistics on the exact percentage of claims in Florida for arthritis are difficult to obtain as the SSA does not release this data per condition at the state level.

Chances of Winning an Initial Claim for Arthritis 

 Over 60% of initial SSDI claims for arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions are denied by the SSA. This denial rate is unfortunately quite high across most medical conditions. Many valid claims are rejected because the provided evidence does not meet the SSA’s strict technical requirements.

Chances of Winning a Hearing for Arthritis

The good news is that over 60% of arthritis claims are eventually approved after a hearing before an administrative law judge. An experienced disability lawyer can greatly improve your chances at this appeals stage by helping you compile the necessary medical documentation, articulating how your condition meets a disability listing, and bringing in supporting expert testimony.

The Importance of a Disability Lawyer 

While you are not legally required to have representation for a disability claim, the involvement of a qualified Social Security disability attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your arthritis case. Disability lawyers understand the complex SSA regulations, documentation rules, and hearing procedures inside and out. Their expertise in presenting medical evidence persuasively allows many deserving arthritis claimants to ultimately receive the SSDI or SSI benefits they need.

If you suffer from severe, chronic arthritis in Florida that prevents you from working, you owe it to yourself to consult with a disability law firm about your eligibility for SSDI or SSI assistance. An initial case evaluation costs nothing and attorneys in this specialty area only collect a fee if they successfully help you obtain disability benefits. Contact Disability Advocates Group today and let us help you fight for the benefits you need and deserve.