The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether the functional limitations imposed by your rheumatoid arthritis condition makes you eligible to receive a disability benefit. The process of applying can be long and quite complicated. It is important to have a complete medical history with test results showing that your arthritis is severe enough to prevent a normal return to work.
If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, the disease may eventually become so severe that you are unable to work anymore. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder, in which the body’s natural immune defense mechanism attacks parts of the body rather than foreign invaders. Typically, the first symptoms are at the joints, where inflammation occurs, causing severe pain, but it can later spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, liver, kidney etc.
Qualifying For Disability Benefits With a Functional Limitation
The SSA uses the Blue Book listing to determine whether a particular medical condition meets the criteria for eligibility for a disability benefit. Rheumatoid arthritis is listed in the Blue Book under section 1.00, musculoskeletal disorders.
Whether the exacting criteria are matched depends on an examination of your medical history and tests and scans, especially X-rays, MRIs and sonograms. These must be paid for by you and not by the SSA.
It is common for applicants for a SSD to have their initial application rejection, but this can often be overturned with a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge. Even if the Blue Book listing criteria are not matched at the outset, the SSA has another route available for acceptance. This is via a Medical Vocational Allowance (MVA). The main difference between this and a Blue Book listing determination is that your ability to work is taken into consideration together with an assessment of the seriousness of your medical condition.
The SSA will ask you to complete a residual functional capacity form, either with your own doctor or a medical examiner working for the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The results of the tests completed combined with an analysis of your work and medical history will help determine your eligibility for a benefit through a MVA.
What to Expect When Applying For SSD with a Medical Vocational Allowance
To obtain benefit eligibility through a MVA, you will need to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). It is advisable to ask your own doctor to do this as he/she should have a more complete picture of your medical history, when symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis first began and how they have worsened over time.
The RFC tests are a series of physical and sometimes mental tests of your ability to perform certain tasks, such as lifting, bending, crouching, standing, walking and other movements that might determine whether the pain and inflammation accompanying the arthritis prevents you from doing the work you have been doing u to now or other work that you may be qualified to do.
Have a Professional on Your Side
Because the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can vary from mild to severe disability, it can be challenging convincing the SSA that you deserve to obtain a disability benefit. You may want to talk to a disability lawyer before applying for a benefit through the SSA.
Most initial rejections are due to inadequate evidence being submitted. Your lawyer can help advise you about what you need to satisfy the SSA and represent you if you need to request an administrative review following a rejection of your application. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation Today!