Claiming arthritis with disability lawyers in Chicago

Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the immune system attacks healthy joint tissue. This disease typically causes swelling, stiffness and pain. As most disability lawyers in Chicago understand, inflammatory arthritis is a common cause of adult disability. This disease can severely limit a person’s ability to work and perform other tasks. Fortunately, victims may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.

Meeting medical requirements

Victims of inflammatory arthritis may qualify for SSD benefits in two ways. They may meet criteria outlined in the “Blue Book,” which lists conditions and requirements those conditions must meet to qualify as disabling. People with inflammatory arthritis may also receive SSD benefits if the disease and other factors effectively preclude employment.

As disability lawyers in Chicago could confirm, inflammatory arthritis has its own Blue Book listing. It is considered disabling if one of these requirements is met:

  • A major weight-bearing joint shows persistent deformation or inflammation, impeding the victim in walking. Alternately, a hand or arm joint may show the same symptoms and prevent the performance of fine motor tasks.
  • A peripheral joint shows deformation or inflammation, and the arthritis moderately affects two organs or body systems. Applicants must document related symptoms, such as fatigue, malaise, fever or unintentional weight loss.
  • The disease persistently causes the above symptoms. Inflammatory arthritis also must limit the person in functioning socially, performing activities of daily living or completing tasks in reasonable time.
  • The person suffers from spinal arthritis that causes the spine to deviate 45 degrees from vertical. If this condition affects two organs or body systems, victims only need to document deviation of 30 degrees.

People who don’t meet these criteria may receive benefits for disabling inflammatory arthritis based on their inability to work. In either case, applicants must support their claims with objective evidence and assessments from licensed physicians.

Additional criteria

People who meet these requirements aren’t guaranteed SSD benefits. Beneficiaries additionally must meet non-medical criteria. The Social Security Administration considers these criteria before even assessing a claimant’s disability.

As disability lawyers in Chicago know, people who perform “substantial gainful activity” cannot receive SSD benefits. In 2015, this is generally work with monthly income exceeding $1,090. Blind claimants, however, may earn up to $1,820. The nature of self-employed work is evaluated based on hours and duties, along with income.

The SSA offers benefits through two programs, and claimants must meet distinct criteria to qualify for either. Supplemental Security Income benefits are awarded to people whose income and assets fall below set thresholds. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available to people with adequate earnings records. Unfortunately, people who don’t meet these criteria can’t receive benefits, no matter how disabling their impairments are.