Of the 50 million Americans living with arthritis, nearly 2 million live in the state of Alabama. While many individuals with arthritis are can live a relatively healthy and normal life, those with more advanced cases often struggle with everyday tasks.
In fact, some people with arthritis are unable to work as a result of their illness.
Thankfully, there are many resources available to Alabama residents who are living with arthritis. In addition to local resources such as support groups, there are also federal resources.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers financial help to individuals who are deemed permanently disabled as a result of a health condition such as arthritis.
Rheumatologists in Alabama
Most people are familiar with osteoarthritis (OA), sometimes referred to as degenerative arthritis. This most common type of arthritis, which happens to all humans as they age, is characterized by a breakdown of the cartilage between the joints. Osteoarthritis can become quite painful and debilitating as it progresses.
What most people don’t realize is that the term arthritis actually encompasses over 100 different types of diseases of the joints and musculoskeletal system.
From lupus to fibromyalgia to gout, arthritis can impact individuals very differently.
A primary care doctor can sometimes manage mild cases of osteoarthritis. However, most individuals with arthritis seek the health services of a rheumatologist.
Rheumatologists are medical experts that specialize in arthritic health conditions. These specialists can diagnose your health condition and help develop a comprehensive health plan to manage the various accompanying symptoms.
Developing a good relationship with a rheumatologist is not only helpful for your health, but also for your quest to obtain disability benefits. When applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you will need to provide a substantial amount of medical evidence demonstrating your need for financial assistance.
The SSA will turn to the medical records provided by health care providers. Specifically, they look to the opinions of medical experts, such as your rheumatologist.
Once you’ve determined that you are ready to apply for SSDI benefits, you may want to discuss your plans with a qualified rheumatologist. It may make sense to review the Blue Book together.
The Blue Book, also referred to as the List of Impairments, is the medical guide used by the SSA to determine what medical conditions might qualify for disability benefits, as well as what symptoms and tests must be included in the records.
If you are not currently an established patient of a rheumatologist, here are three Alabama practices that might be of service to you:
Rheumatology Associates, P.C.
2145 Highland Ave S, Ste 200
Birmingham, AL 35205
UAB Medicine- Rheumatology
Baptist Medical Center South
2119 East South Boulevard
Rheumatology Associates of North Alabama
720 Gallatin Street, Suite 500
Huntsville, AL, 35801
Arthritis Support Groups in Alabama
Scientific studies have demonstrated the benefits of social support when it comes to health and healing. Individuals who have a strong support system tend to fare better than those who do not.
While family and friends can offer one source of support, there is another type of assistance that is often overlooked. Arthritis support groups can provide significant value to those suffering from the disease.
The Arthritis Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to offering education and support to those living with arthritis. They offer online resources, such as mobile apps, magazines, and toolkits. Further, they have established local chapters that provide more state-specific help.
For more information on the Arthritis Foundation and the services in your area, contact one of the two local Alabama branches:
Arthritis Foundation – Montgomery, Alabama
8650 Minnie Brown Road, Ste 160
Montgomery, AL 36117-7433
Arthritis Foundation – Birmingham, Alabama
500 Office Park Drive, Ste 200
Mountain Brk, AL 35223-2441
Applying for Social Security Disability for Arthritis in Alabama
The first step of the SSDI application is to determine if you qualify for benefits for your arthritis.
By reviewing the various sections of the Blue Book that apply to arthritis, you can assess whether or not your condition is severe enough to warrant a financial award. The easiest way to earn an award is to meet a Blue Book listing. Various sections that apply to arthritis.
For example, section 1.00 refers to health complications of the musculoskeletal system. Section 14.02 addresses lupus and section 14.09 relates to inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Even if you don’t meet a Blue Book listing, you might still qualify for SSDI benefits utilizing a medical-vocational allowance. The SSA will require a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to determine the most amount of work that you can complete given your current health condition.
If the combination of your symptoms are so severe that you are unable to perform your current job or another that you are qualified for, you could also earn a disability award.
SSDI benefits are meant for individuals who are permanently disabled. As such, only those whose symptoms are expected to last for at least one year will be considered for a disability award. Applying for Social Security benefits can easily be done online.
However, for those who prefer to visit an in-person location can do so at the following Alabama offices:
Birmingham Social Security Office 35285
1200 Rev Abraham Woods District Office, 1st Floor
Birmingham, AL 35285
Montgomery Social Security Office 36106
4344 Carmichael Road
Montgomery, AL 36106
Mobile Social Security Office 36602
550 Government Street
Mobile, AL 36602
Can A Social Security Disability Lawyer Help Me for My Arthritis in Alabama?
Arthritis is a commonly diagnosed disease. If the SSA were to offer disability benefits to all of those impacted, there would not be enough funding to go around.
Therefore, only those who are most severely affected by their arthritis are considered for financial assistance. To improve your chances of approval, you might want to consider hiring a disability lawyer.
An experienced Social Security lawyer can help craft your case in a way that improves your chances of approval. In addition to helping you obtain all of the necessary medical records, he or she can communicate with your medical providers. If there are remaining medical tests that might be helpful to have, they can be identified.
Further, if you are not approved in the initial stages of the application process, your lawyer can represent you at a disability appeals hearing. The disability application process is complex, and a lawyer can be your biggest asset.